Famous American Historians

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Howsoever you hate history you cannot deny the fact that it is interesting and exciting to know about historic events that shaped the world and people who were real icons of the past. They were the trailblazers who have directed much of our past, present and our future. While reading history is not everyone’s cup of tea, there are some who take it up professionally. Historians are people who research, study and write about the past. They are involved with continuous research of past events and study history of all times and human race. Every country has its own pool of historians who unleash the past for the mankind’s present and future. American historians have time and again explored the bygone era and brought forth unknown facts about America’s modest past and the events that led it to become a super power. They have covered every aspect of American history right from its African-America past, the Civil War, American liberalism and its global super power status. Eric Foner, Allan Nevins, Arthur M Schlesinger Jr, Francis Parkman, Bruce Catton are some of the celebrated American historians who have brought to limelight the historic past of America. Check this write-up to find in details about the famous American historians, their life and their works.
Vote for Your Favourite American Historians
 1 
Peter Weller
(Actor and Director)
Peter Weller
5
Birthdate: June 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States
Peter Weller is best known as Robocop from the film RoboCop and its sequel. He also earned an Academy Award nomination for his 1993 short film Partners. He starred in the series 24, hosted a History Channel show, and voiced Bruce Wayne/Batman in the miniseries The Dark Knight Returns.
 2 
Joe Medicine Crow
(Native American Writer, Historian and War Chief of the Crow Nation)
Joe Medicine Crow
6
Birthdate: October 27, 1913
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lodge Grass, Montana, United States
Died: April 3, 2016

The last Crow war chief, Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow was part of the Whistling Water clan of Native Americans. The legendary indigenous hero was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A published historian, too, he is remembered for his research on the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

 3 
George McGovern
(United States Senator from South Dakota (1963 - 1981))
George McGovern
10
Birthdate: July 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Avon, South Dakota, United States
Died: October 21, 2012

Historian George McGovern had been the U.S. senator from South Dakota. He held important positions related to food, agriculture, and nutrition, too, and was named a World Food Prize laureate for his efforts in reducing world hunger. He had also advocated for the end of the Vietnam War.

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 4 
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
(Literary Critic and Scholar Who Became Popular for His Pioneering Theories of African and African-American Literature)
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
6
Birthdate: September 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keyser, West Virginia, United States

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, historian, professor, filmmaker, and public intellectual. He is currently serving as the director of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Over the years Gates has been honored with several prestigious awards including the National Humanities Medal. In 1997, he was named in Time magazine's 25 Most Influential Americans list.

 5 
Lola Van Wagenen
(Historian and Co-Founder of ‘Consumer Action Now’)
Lola Van Wagenen
7
Birthdate: 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Provo, Utah, United States

Lola Van Wagenen is an American historian who is credited with co-founding non-profit educational organizations like Consumer Action Now (CAN) and Clio Visualizing History, Inc. Consumer Action Now went on to establish several environmental education and consumer-oriented programs in an attempt to raise awareness about the effects of consumers' buying habits on the environment.

 6 
Shelby Foote
(Writer)
Shelby Foote
5
Birthdate: November 17, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Greenville, Mississippi, United States
Died: June 27, 2005
 7 
Victor Davis Hanson
(One of America’s Best Known and Most Prolific Historians)
Victor Davis Hanson
6
Birthdate: September 5, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fowler, California, United States

Historian and academic Victor Davis Hanson is best known for his opinions on warfare and politics in publications such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He teaches at the California State University and Stanford's Hoover Institution. His academic interests include military history and classics.

 8 
David McCullough
(American Historian & Author)
David McCullough
4
Birthdate: July 7, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died: August 7, 2022

David McCullough was an American historian, author, narrator, and lecturer. Over the course of his illustrious career, McCullough received two National Book Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, and two Francis Parkman Prizes among other prestigious awards. In 2006, he was honored with America's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also received over 40 honorary degrees.

 9 
Sarah Vowell
(Author of Seven Nonfiction Books on American History and Culture)
Sarah Vowell
6
Birthdate: December 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Muskogee, Oklahoma, United States

Bestselling author and essayist Sarah Vowell is known for her expertise in American history and her books such as Assassination Vacation and Unfamiliar Fishes. She is also a regular on the radio program This American Life and has voiced Violet in the animated film The Incredibles.

 10 
Robert Osborne
(Actor, Television actor, Biographer, Film actor, Historian, Journalist, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer)
Robert Osborne
7
Birthdate: May 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Colfax
Died: March 6, 2017

Best known for his over two-decade-long stint as a Turner Classic Movies host, Robert Osborne also gained fame for his penning The Official History of the Academy Awards and the National Film Book Award-winning 50 Golden Years of Oscar. A qualified journalist, he also wrote columns for The Hollywood Reporter.

 11 
Stephen Jay Gould
(Paleontologist and Evolutionary Biologist Known for His 'Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium' & Book ‘The Mismeasure of Man’)
Stephen Jay Gould
5
Birthdate: September 10, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bayside, New York, United States
Died: May 20, 2002

Stephen Jay Gould was an American evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, and historian of science. One of the most widely read and influential authors of popular science, Gould was named a Living Legend in April 2000 by the US Library of Congress. He is also counted among the most frequently cited scientists, as far as evolutionary theory is concerned.

 12 
Howard Zinn
(Historian)
Howard Zinn
10
Birthdate: August 24, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: January 27, 2010

Born into a Jewish working-class, immigrant family in Brooklyn, Howard Zinn was initially dragged into communism. He was part of the U.S. Army during World War II and later established himself as a historian. Of his many books, the most popular has been A People's History of the United States.

 13 
Carter Woodson
(Historian)
Carter Woodson
5
Birthdate: December 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Canton, Virginia, United States
Died: April 3, 1950

Historian Carter Woodson was is remembered for pioneering Black studies in schools and colleges. He began the Negro History Week, which is now celebrated as the Black History Month. Poverty had pushed him to work in the coal mines initially, and he couldn’t join high school before 20.

 14 
Doris Kearns Goodwin
(Historian, Writer known for her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II)
Doris Kearns Goodwin
12
Birthdate: January 4, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, United States

Doris Kearns Goodwin is an American historian, biographer, and former sports journalist. She is best known for writing presidential biographies, including Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga. In 1995, she won the Pulitzer Prize for History for her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

 15 
Murray Bookchin
(Writer, Historian, Philosopher, University teacher, Anarchist, Libertarian municipalism, Social ecology)
Murray Bookchin
5
Birthdate: January 14, 1921
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City
Died: July 30, 2006

Murray Bookchin, also known by his pseudonyms M.S. Shiloh and Lewis Herber, was an anarchist, a political philosopher, and an academic, best known for his fight against capitalism. The son of Russian immigrants, he followed communism since age 9. He had also penned books such as The Ecology of Freedom.

 16 
Anne Applebaum
(Polish-American Journalist and Historian Known for Writing on Former Soviet Union and Its Satellite Countries)
Anne Applebaum
7
Birthdate: July 25, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Anne Applebaum is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gulag, which described the Soviet concentration camps. The American historian and journalist has worked for The Economist and The Spectator and now writes for The Atlantic. The mother of two now lives in Poland with her politician husband, Radek Sikorski.

 17 
Henry Cabot Lodge
(United States Senator from Massachusetts (1893-1924))
Henry Cabot Lodge
5
Birthdate: May 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beverly, Massachusetts, United States
Died: November 9, 1924
 18 
Jon Meacham
(Writer, Reviewer, Historian and Presidential Biographer)
Jon Meacham
4
Birthdate: May 20, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States

Jon Meacham is an American historian, writer, reviewer, and presidential biographer. Over the years Meacham has contributed to popular publications like The New York Times, Time, and Newsweek. In 2009, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his work American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. He has also received honorary doctorates from many universities including the University of Tennessee.

 19 
Will Durant
(American Writer Best Known for His Work 'The Story of Civilization')
Will Durant
7
Birthdate: November 5, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: North Adams, Massachusetts, United States
Died: November 7, 1981

Will Durant was an American writer, philosopher, and historian. He is credited with writing The Story of Philosophy which helped popularize philosophy in the USA. Will is also remembered for co-writing an 11-volume set of books titled The Story of Civilization along with his wife Ariel. Will and Ariel were awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 20 
Timothy D. Snyder
(Author and historian specializing in the history of Central and Eastern Europe and the Holocaust)
Timothy D. Snyder
4
Birthdate: August 18, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ohio, United States

Historian and Yale professor Timothy D. Snyder has penned countless books, including bestsellers such as Bloodlands and On Tyranny. His themes include Marxism and Soviet and Nazi atrocities. A Harvard scholar and a Carnegie fellow, he is also part of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience.

 21 
Stephen E. Ambrose
(Historian Known for His Biographies of U.S. Presidents 'Dwight D. Eisenhower' and 'Richard Nixon')
Stephen E. Ambrose
7
Birthdate: January 10, 1936
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Decatur, United States
Died: October 13, 2002

Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American biographer and historian. A respected figure, Ambrose was honored with several prestigious awards during his lifetime. In 1998, he was honored with the National Humanities Medal. The same year, he also won the Golden Plate Award as well as the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize. In 2001, he received the Theodore Roosevelt Medal.

 22 
George Washington Williams
(Soldier, Historian, Diplomat, Writer, Minister, Politician, Journalist)
George Washington Williams
4
Birthdate: October 16, 1849
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bedford
Died: August 2, 1891

A laborer’s son, George Washington Williams had been a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War, when he was barely 14. He had then been a Baptist minister, a politician, a lecturer, a lawyer, and a journalist, but is best remembered for being the first to write about Black history.

 23 
James M. McPherson
(Historian, University teacher, Writer)
James M. McPherson
3
Birthdate: October 11, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Valley City

James M. McPherson is an American historian who serves as a professor at Princeton University. Well-known for his activism, McPherson spoke against the construction of a theme park near Manassas battlefield. A Civil War historian, McPherson won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for his work, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, in 1989.

 24 
Archibald Gracie IV
(Historian, Writer, Investor)
Archibald Gracie IV
4
Birthdate: January 15, 1858
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States
Died: December 4, 1912

Best known as the author of The Truth About The Titanic (currently Titanic: A Survivor's Story), Archibald Gracie IV was one of the few who survived the sinking of RMS Titanic. Beginning his career as colonel of the 7th New York Militia, he later became a real estate agent, concurrently carrying out researches on history, particularly the Battle of Chickamauga.

 25 
Bernard Lewis
(Historian)
Bernard Lewis
4
Birthdate: May 31, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 19, 2018
 26 
Max Boot
(Writer, Historian)
Max Boot
5
Birthdate: September 12, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

Called one of the “world’s leading authorities on armed conflict” by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, historian, and foreign-policy analyst Max A. Boot was born in Moscow, but raised in Los Angeles. Now Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, he is also the author of numerous articles and bestselling books.

 27 
Henry Adams
(Historian Known for His Work 'The History of the United States of America 1801–1817')
Henry Adams
4
Birthdate: February 16, 1838
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: March 27, 1918

Historian Henry Adams was part of the famous Adams political family of the U.S and a typical Boston Brahmin elite. His best-known work remains his posthumously published autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams, which won a Pulitzer Prize. He also taught medieval history at Harvard.

 28 
Studs Terkel
(Journalist, Historian, Radio personality, Writer, Poet lawyer, Music journalist)
Studs Terkel
6
Birthdate: May 16, 1912
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
Died: October 31, 2008

Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Studs Terkel is remembered for his contribution to American history and for his book The Good War. Initially aspiring to be a lawyer, he later became a radio actor. He also interviewed people for his show Studs’s Place and published bestselling oral histories such as Division Street.

Vincent Barrett Price
4
Birthdate: August 30, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 An American educator, editor, poet, environmental and human rights columnist, Vincent Barrett Price is known to don many robes. A prolific writer, he has so far nineteen books to his credit and his works have been published in more than seventy national and international publications. Formerly associated with many established journals, he is also the cofounder of New Mexico Mercury.  

 30 
Barbara Tuchman
(Historian)
Barbara Tuchman
5
Birthdate: January 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 1989

Barbara Tuchman was an American author and historian whose best-selling book The Guns of August (1962) earned her the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Tuchman won her second Pulitzer Prize for writing a biography of General Joseph Stilwell titled Stilwell and the American Experience in China (1971).

 31 
Russell Kirk
(Political scientist, Philosopher, Literary critic, Historian, Novelist, Writer, Science fiction writer, Journalist)
Russell Kirk
4
Birthdate: October 19, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Plymouth
Died: April 29, 1994

Russell Kirk was an American historian, moralist, political theorist, literary and social critic. He is best remembered for his strong influence on 20th-century conservatism in the United States. He is credited with writing The Conservative Mind, which shaped America's postwar conservative movement. Russell Kirk was widely regarded as the leading advocate of traditionalist conservatism.

 32 
Michael Parenti
(Political scientist, Historian)
Michael Parenti
4
Birthdate: September 30, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Political scientist, historian, and critic Michael Parenti is best known for being a staunch critic of capitalism and America’s foreign policy. The Yale alumnus taught political and social science at various institutes, before becoming a full-time writer and speaker. He is the father of journalist Christian Parenti.

 33 
David Halberstam
(Historian, Writer, Journalist)
David Halberstam
6
Birthdate: April 10, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City
Died: April 23, 2007

Journalist and historian David Halberstam is known for his works in areas as diverse as the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and American sports and culture. The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter had worked with The New York Times. He later died in a car crash.

 34 
Caleb Carr
(Military Historian and Novelist)
Caleb Carr
4
Birthdate: August 2, 1955
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

Born to leading Beat generation figure Lucien Carr, Caleb Carr is a renowned military historian and author, with books such as the international bestseller The Alienist, one of his Kreizler series novels, to his credit. He also contributes to MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.

 35 
Stephen F. Cohen
(Historian, Editor)
Stephen F. Cohen
5
Birthdate: November 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: September 18, 2020
 36 
Jill Lepore
(Historian)
Jill Lepore
4
Birthdate: August 27, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Boylston, Massachusetts, United States

Jill Lepore is an American journalist and historian who is currently teaching American History at Harvard University. She has also been an important contributor to The New Yorker, writing about American history, literature, law, and politics since 2005. Over the years her work has earned her prestigious awards, such as the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award and American History Book Prize.

 37 
Robert Kagan
(American Neoconservative Scholar and Critic of U.S. Foreign Policy)
Robert Kagan
4
Birthdate: September 26, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Athens, Greece

Robert Kagan is an American scholar who believes in neoconservatism. A prominent critic of U.S. foreign policy, Kagan is credited with co-founding a neoconservative think tank called the Project for the New American Century. He also contributes to publications like The Washington Post for which he writes a monthly column and has been a contributing editor at The New Republic.

 38 
Immanuel Wallerstein
(Economist, Geopolitician, Economic historian, Historian, Political scientist, Writer, Sociologist, University teacher)
Immanuel Wallerstein
4
Birthdate: September 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City

Sociologist, author, and economic historian Immanuel Wallerstein is best remembered for his iconic work The Modern World System, which was the first volume of his world-system theory. He was a Yale researcher and had first been driven to understand world history when he read up about the anticolonial movement in India.

 39 
Lothrop Stoddard
(Anthropologist, Political scientist, Historian, Author, Journalist, Opinion journalist)
Lothrop Stoddard
4
Birthdate: June 29, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brookline
Died: May 1, 1950

Twentieth-century American political scientist and historian Lothrop Stoddard was a Ku Klux Klan and believed in eugenics, a theory that promoted the superiority certain races based on genetics. His book The Revolt Against Civilization introduced neo-Nazi concepts. He also covered World War II as a journalist.

 40 
John Henrik Clarke
(Former Historian, Educator in the creation of Pan-African and Africana studies and professional institutions in academia starting in the late 1960s)
John Henrik Clarke
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Union Springs, Alabama, United States
Died: July 16, 1998

John Henrik Clarke was an American professor and historian who helped create Pan-African and Africana studies. Clarke is credited with founding the African Heritage Studies Association, a subsidiary of the African Studies Association. He was also a founding member of many other organizations created to support work in black culture.

 41 
Allan Lichtman
(Historian)
Allan Lichtman
4
Birthdate: April 4, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brownsville, New York, United States

Best known for creating a key system that can be used for predicting the outcome of the US presidential elections, Allan Jay Lichtman is a celebrated historian and an influential geopolitical expert.  Also a renowned author known for works like The Keys to the White House, he has also been an expert witness in numerous civil and voting rights cases

 42 
Lewis Mumford
(Architect, Historian of technology, Historian, Sociologist, Screenwriter, Literary critic, Philosopher, Journalist)
Lewis Mumford
4
Birthdate: October 19, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 26, 1990

Lewis Mumford was an American sociologist, historian, literary critic, and philosopher of technology. He made significant contributions to American literary and cultural history, social philosophy, and the history of technology. His works also influenced a number of thinkers and authors like Jacques Ellul and Amory Lovins. Lewis Mumford also had a strong influence on American cellular biologist Barry Commoner.

 43 
Aviva Chomsky
(Historian, University teacher)
Aviva Chomsky
6
Birthdate: April 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Boston

Born to linguists Noam and Carol Chomsky, Aviva Chomsky is equipped with degrees in Spanish and Portuguese and is an expert in labor and social movements. The author of books such as Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal, she teaches history and co-ordinates Latin American Studies at the Salem State University.

 44 
Richard Hofstadter
(Historian, Political scientist, Writer, University teacher)
Richard Hofstadter
4
Birthdate: August 6, 1916
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buffalo
Died: October 24, 1970

Richard Hofstadter was an American intellectual and historian who served as a professor at Columbia University. Hofstadter mentored Eric Foner and Paula S. Fass, who became respected historians in their own right. In 1956, Hofstadter won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for his work The Age of Reform. In 1964, he received his second Pulitzer Prize for Anti-intellectualism in American Life.

 45 
Christopher Browning
(Historian of the modern age, Historian)
Christopher Browning
3
Birthdate: May 22, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini

Christopher Browning is an American historian who serves as a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Browning, who has studied the Holocaust for most of his life, is best known for working on the Final Solution. He has received several prestigious awards like National Jewish Book Award and Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research. 

 46 
Gertrude Himmelfarb
3
Birthdate: August 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: December 30, 2019
 47 
Bill James
(Statistician)
Bill James
15
Birthdate: October 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Holton

Renowned baseball writer, statistician, historian Bill James is best known for developing "sabermetrics,” a form of statistical analysis of baseball. His works have been described in Michael Lewis's book Moneyball, which later inspired the 2011 film of the same name. He has also been a Boston Red Sox senior advisor.

Charles Francis Adams Sr.
3
Birthdate: August 18, 1807
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: November 21, 1886

Charles Francis Adams Sr. was an American writer, historical editor, diplomat, and politician. He played a key role during the American Civil War, serving as the US Minister to the UK under Abraham Lincoln; he used his diplomacy to not recognize the Confederacy and keep the British government neutral. He is credited with building Adams National Historical Park.

 49 
Michael Eric Dyson
(Historian, Biographer)
Michael Eric Dyson
4
Birthdate: October 23, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Detroit

Michael Eric Dyson is an American author, academic, radio host, and ordained minister. He is currently serving as a professor at Vanderbilt University and in the College of Arts and Science. Over the course of his illustrious career, Dyson has received a couple of NAACP Image Awards as well as an American Book Award for his skills as a writer.

 50 
Christopher Lasch
(Historian, Social critic, Writer, Sociologist, Journalist)
Christopher Lasch
3
Birthdate: June 1, 1932
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Omaha
Died: February 14, 1994

Christopher Lasch was an American historian, social critic, and moralist. He served as a professor at the University of Rochester. Christopher Lasch is best remembered for his books that aimed at using history as a tool to help Americans realize the independence and competence of families and communities. His best-selling book The Culture of Narcissism won the National Book Award.