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 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.

2022-23: Prof Bruce Schulman (William E. Huntington Professor of History, Boston University)

2021-22 Prof Patrick Griffin (Madden-Hennebry Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame).

MT 2019, HT 2020, TT 2021 Peter Mancall, University of Southern California
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