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Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History
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The Harmsworth Professorship was established by the 1st Viscount Rothermere in memory of his son Vyvyan, who died in the First World War.

The Professorship makes Oxford unique among British universities by every year enabling a distinguished American historian to spend a year in Oxford teaching, researching and leading seminars.

Inaugurated in 1922, the Professorship has been held by many of America's most eminent historians and is tenable on a year-long basis. Since 2001, Professors have been affiliated to both Queen's College and the Rothermere American Institute (RAI).

The current Harmsworth Professor is Professor Peter Mancall (USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences).

The Professor’s inaugural lecture takes place each November. A volume collecting the lectures from 1922 to 2010 has been published by the RAI and is available in the Vere Harmsworth Library and Queen's College Library. Some recent lectures are also available as podcasts.

  • Former Harmsworth Professors

    2019-20 Peter Mancall
    The Origins of the American Economy

    2018-19 Barbara Savage, University of Pennsylvania
    War, Race, and Anti-Imperialism in Merze Tate’s International Thought

    2017-18 Elliott West, University of Arkansas
    Things Come Together: Science and the American West

    2016-17 Alan Taylor, University of Virginia
    American Revolutions: Empires and Republics in North America, 1750-1804

    2015-16 Kristin Hoganson, University of Illinois
    Isolationism as an Urban Legend

    2014-15 Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard University
    Constituting 'the People': Law's Empire and the American Imagination

    2013-14 Richard J. M. Blackett, Vanderbilt University
    The Underground Railroad and the Struggle Against Slavery

    2012-13 Gary Gerstle
    Paradoxes of State Power in America

    2011-12 Philip Morgan, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
    A Tale of Two Hamiltons: North American-Caribbean Crossings

    2010-11 Ian Tyrrell, University of New South Wales
    Crisis of the Wasteful Nation: A Tale of Theodore Roosevelt and Environmental Alarmism in the Progressive Era

    2009-10 Robin Kelley, University of Southern California
    He’s got the Whole World in His Hands: U.S. History and its Discontents in the Obama Era

    2008-09 Peter S Onuf, University of Virginia
    Thomas Jefferson and the Origins of American Democracy

    2007-08 Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
    Salvaging the American City in the Age of Mass Suburbanization

    2006-07 Linda K Kerber, University of Iowa
    The Stateless as the Citizen’s Other: A View from U.S. History

    2005-06 Kathryn Kish Sklar, State University of New York, Binghamton
    The Centrality of Feminism in American Political History, 1776-2000

    2004-05 Joel H Silbey, Cornell University
    The Party of Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln and the Emergence of the Republican Party before the Civil War

    2003-04 Richard R Beeman, University of Pennsylvania
    The Uncertain History of Democracy: A View from the Eighteenth Century (with some Concluding Speculations on the Twenty-First)

    2002-03 Melvyn P Leffler, University of Virginia
    9/11 and the Past and Future of American Foreign Policy

    2001-02 David A Hollinger, University of California (Berkeley)
    The Question of Ethno-racial Mixture in American History

    2000-01 Timothy Hall Breen, Northwestern University
    The Lockean Moment: The Language of Human Rights on the Eve of the American Revolution

    1999-2000 Robin William Winks, Yale University
    To Stimulate to Some Action: The Harmsworth Professorship 1920-2000

    1998-99 Alan Brinkley, Columbia University
    Imagining the Twentieth Century: Perspectives from Two Fins-de-Siècle

    1997-98 Ernest Richard May, Harvard University
    Shaping Forces in American Foreign Policy

    1996-97 Robert Lawrence Middlekauff, University of California (Berkeley)
    Democracy in America before Tocqueville

    1995-96 David M Kennedy, Stanford University
    Can the United States still afford to be a nation of immigrants?

    1994-95 Robert Dallek, University of California, Los Angeles
    Franklin D. Roosevelt as World Leader: Fifty Years After

    1993-94 Eric Foner, Columbia University
    Slavery and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America

    1992-93 John Lewis Gaddis, Ohio University
    On Contemporary History

    1991-92 James Aloysius Henretta, University of Maryland
    Charles Evans Hughes and the Strange Death of Liberal America

    1990-91 Joyce Oldham Appleby, University of California, Los Angeles
    Without Resolution: the Jeffersonian Tension in American Nationalism

    1989-90 Daniel Walker Howe, University of California, Los Angeles
    Henry David Thoreau on the duty of civil disobedience

    1988-89 George M Fredrickson, Stanford University
    Black-white relations since emancipation: The search for a comparative perspective

    1987-88 Richard Slator Dunn, University of Pennsylvania
    An Odd Couple: John Winthrop of Massachusetts and William Penn of Pennsylvania

    1986-87 David Montgomery, Yale University
    The American Civil War and the meanings of ‘freedom’

    1985-86 David Hackett Fischer, Brandeis University

    1984-85 Joseph Morgan Kousser, California Institute of Technology
    Dead End: The Development of Litigation on Racial Discrimination in Schools in 19th Century America

    1983-84 John Willard Shy, University of Michigan
    Two Kinds of History: Beard, Bailyn, and the Origins of the United States

    1982-83 Samuel Pfrimmer Hays, University of Pittsburgh

    1981-82 James Tyler Patterson, Brown University
    Wealth and Poverty in Modern America: the 1960’s and 1970’s

    1980-81 Morton Keller, Brandeis University
    The Historical Sources of Urban Personality: Boston, New York, Philadelphia

    1979-80 Eric Louis McKitrick, Columbia University
    England and America in the 1790’s: A Critical Interlude

    1978-79 Norman A Graebner, University of Virginia

    1977-78 Wille Lee Rose,The Johns Hopkins University

    1976-77 John Morton Blum, Yale University

    1975-76 Jack P Greene, The Johns Hopkins University

    1974-75 Richard C Wade, City University of New York

    1973-74 Carl Neumann Degler, Stanford University

    1972-73 Oscar Handlin, Harvard University

    1971-72 William Edward Leuchtenburg, Columbia University

    1970-71 Charles Grier Sellers, University of California (Berkeley)

    1969-70 David Brion Davis, Cornell University

    1968-69 Fletcher Melvin Green, University of North Carolina

    1967-68 Don Edward Fehrenbacher, Stanford University

    1966-67 Thomas Harry Williams, Louisiana State University

    1965-66 Bell Irvin Wiley, Emory University

    1964-65 Allan Nevins, Huntington Library

    1963-64 Frank Everson Vandiver, Rice University

    1962-63 Richard Nelson Current, University of Wisconsin

    1961-62 Kenneth Milton Stampp, University of California (Berkeley)

    1960-61 George Edwin Mowry, University of California (Los Angeles)

    1959-60 David Herbert Donald, Columbia University

    1958-59 Arthur Stanley Link, Northwestern University

    1957-58 Walter T Johnson, University of Chicago

    1956-57 Arthur E Bestor, Jr, University of Illinois

    1955-56 Frank Burt Freidel, Jr, Harvard University

    1954-55 Comer Vann Woodward, The Johns Hopkins University

    1953-54 Ray Allen Billington, Northwestern University

    1952-53 Henry Steele Commager, Columbia University

    1951-52 Lawrence Henry Gipson, Lehigh University

    1950-51 Charles Sackett Sydnor, Duke University

    1949-50 Merrill Jensen, University of Wisconsin

    1948-49 Louis M Hacker, Columbia University

    1947-48 David Morris Potter, Yale University

    1946-47 Walt Whitman Rostow, University of Texas

    1945-46 Vacant

    1944-45 Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker, Princeton University

    1943-44 Vacant

    1942-43 Walter Prescott Webb, University of Texas

    1941-42 Vacant

    1940-41 Allan Nevins, Columbia University

    1939-40 Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker, Princeton University

    1925-39 Robert McNutt McElroy, Princeton University

    1922-25 Samuel Eliot Morison, Harvard University