William S. Newman Distinguished Professor
1972, A. B., American History and Literature, Harvard College
1977, Ph. D. History of American Civilization, Harvard University
I view myself as a literary and cultural historian. I have published widely in American literature from its beginnings through the 1870; American intellectual and cultural history through the same periods; early American religious history; and nineteenth century-American music history. For a decade I served as the editor of Early American Literature and was on the editorial board of the multi-volume History of the Book in America. I hold a joint appointment in the Department of American Studies and an Adjunct Professorship in Religious Studies.To read more, visit my website
- A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory: Puritan Radicalism in America, 1620-1660 (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan Univ. Press, 1984.
- America’s Instrument: The Banjo in the 19th Century (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1999).
- Jonathan Edwards: America’s Evangelical ((NY: Hill and Wang, 2005).
- American Transcendentalism: A History (NY: Hill and Wang, 2007).
- The American Antiquarian Society, 1812-2012: A Bicentennial History (Worcester, MA: AAS, 2012).
- Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel (NY: Farar, Straus and Giroux, 2013).
- A Life of William Apess, Pequot (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2015).
- Man’s Better Angels: Romantic Reformers and the Coming of the Civil War (Cambridge: Harvard UP 2017).
- University Post-Baccalaureate Distinguished Teaching Award, University of North Carolina, 2004.
- Richard W. Gunn Memorial Lecturer, University of Kansas, November, 2015.
- Distinguished Scholar, Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Convocation, 2013.
- Distinguished Scholar Award, Division on American Literature to 1800 of the Modern Language Association, 2008.
- National Book Critics Circle finalist (nonfiction) 2008.
- Washington Post, Best Books of 2008 (for American Transcendentalism).
- Fellow, Society of American Historians (elected 2008).
- Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence, American Antiquarian Society, 2006-07.James Russell Wiggins Lecturer, American Antiquarian Society, 2004
- ASCAP-Deems Taylor Special Citation, for America’s Instrument, 2000.
- Award of Merit, Society of Early Americanists, 2000.
- Association of Graduate English Students MA Mentoring Award, 2000.
- Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, 1999.
- Corresponding Member, Massachusetts Historical Society (elected), 1996.
- Frances Densmore Prize, 1996, awarded by American Musical Instrument Society.
- National Council, Institute of Early American History and Culture (elected), 1991-1994.
- Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, 1989.
- Member, American Antiquarian Society, elected 1988.
- Senior Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, VA, 1985-86.
- Faculty Fellowship, Council on Research and Creative Work, University of Colorado, 1985-86.
- Chancellor’s Writing Award, University of Colorado, 1985.
- Member, Colonial Society of Massachusetts, elected 1985.
- Fellow, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, Harvard University, 1980-81.
- Norman Foerster Prize in American Literature, awarded by the Modern Language Association, 1977.
- English 128, Major American Authors
- English 343, Survey of American Literature to 1860.
- English 347, American Novel
- English 443, Topics in American Literature to 1900.
- English 843, Topics in American Literature to 1900 (American Novel, Transcendentalism, Early American Literature).