Publication Date

March 1, 1998

Eminent historian, former AHA president, and Harvard University professor Bernard Bailyn has been chosen to deliver the 1998 Jefferson Lecture in the humanities. The lectureship is the U.S. government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. Announcing this, William Ferris, chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), said that Professor Bailyn's work "on the ideas and beliefs that have shaped the American nation from the beginning, is an excellent context for taking stock of our nation's heritage as we stand at the cusp of a new millennium."

The annual lecture, established by the NEH in 1972, honors distinguished intellectual and civic accomplishment as exemplified by Thomas Jefferson. Bailyn was chosen for the honor by the National Council on the Humanities, the 26-member advisory board of the NEH. The lectureship carries with it a $10,000 honorarium.

Bailyn's lecture, entitled "'To Begin the World Anew': Politics and the Creative Imagination," will be the 27th lecture in the series. Previous Jefferson lecturers have been (in reverse chronological order) Stephen Toulmin, Toni Morrison, Vincent Scully, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Conquest, Bernard M. W. Know, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Bernard Lewis, Walker Percy, Robert Nisbet, Forrest McDonald, Leszek Kolakowski, Cleanth Brooks, Sidney Hook, Jaroslav Pelikan, Emily T. Vermeule, Gerald Holton, Barbara Tuchman, Edward Shils, C. Vann Woodward, Saul Bellow, John Hope Franklin, Paul A. Freund, Robert Penn Warren, Erik Erikson, and Lionel Trilling.

Bernard Bailyn has devoted his more than 40-year professorial career to studying and teaching American history at Harvard University, where he is the Adams Professor emeritus. He is the author of 11 books, including 2 Pulitzer Prize winners, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1968) and Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution (1986). Bailyn is a foreign member of the British Academy, the Mexican Academy of History and Geography, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was president of the AHA in 1981.

The lecture will be delivered on March 23, 1998, at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. For details call (202) 606-8446.

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