WASHINGTON, D.C., March 11, 2003--Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough has been named the 2003 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today. The annual NEH-sponsored Jefferson Lecture is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.
"In many ways, David McCullough is the ideal historian," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "He brings absolutely first-rate scholarship and remarkable skills as a storyteller to a wide audience of Americans."
McCullough earned the Pulitzer Prize twice for his biographies of former presidents, first in 1993 for Truman and again in 2002 for John Adams. He has twice won the National Book Award and Francis Parkman Prize. In 1995 McCullough was awarded the Charles Frankel Prize, now known as the National Humanities Medal, which was established by NEH to recognize persons for their outstanding contributions to the public's understanding of the humanities.
In September 2002, when President George W. Bush announced his history and civic education initiative in a Rose Garden ceremony, he said that David McCullough has "made history come alive for millions of Americans. He has encouraged the teaching of history in our classrooms. He has made a lasting contribution to our nation. And we're grateful for that contribution."
"To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure," McCullough said in a recent interview. "It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is."
McCullough's other books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path Between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, and Brave Companions. His books have never been out of print. In his productive career, McCullough has been an editor, essayist, teacher, lecturer, and familiar presence on public television as host of Smithsonian World, The American Experience, and narrator of numerous documentaries, including Ken Burns's The Civil War. He is a past president of the Society of American Historians and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received 31 honorary degrees.
A gifted speaker, McCullough has lectured in all parts of the United States and abroad, as well as at the White House, as part of a White House presidential lecture series. He is also one of the few private citizens to be asked to speak before a joint session of Congress.
McCullough will present his lecture on Thursday, May 15, 2003, at 7:30 p.m. in Washington, D.C. Attendance at the lecture is by invitation and free. Those interested in receiving an invitation should call (202) 606-8400 or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
McCullough will be the 32nd Jefferson Lecturer. The lectureship carries a $10,000 honorarium.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1933, McCullough was educated there and at Yale, where he was graduated with honors in English literature in 1955. An avid reader, traveler, and landscape painter, he lives in West Tisbury, Mass., with his wife, Rosalee Barnes McCullough. They have five children and sixteen grandchildren.
The event is made possible by Sara Lee Corporation, which has been the principal sponsor of the Jefferson Lecture from 1999 through 2003.
Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and a list of previous Jefferson Lecturers is available on NEH's website.