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Dr. Joseph J. Ellis

Pulitzer Prize-winning author

Dr. Joseph J. Ellis

Dr. Ellis makes his annual visit with students at Amherst to celebrate the Fourth of July

A sample of what our students had to say after their visit with Joe Ellis:

  • "Joe Ellis makes me appreciate America"
  • "Informative, interesting, and engaging."

Dr. Joseph John Ellis is one of the nation's foremost scholars of American history. He is the author of eight books, including bestsellers American Sphinx, which won the National Book Award in 1997; Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation, which received the Pulitzer Prize in history in 2000; and His Excellency: George Washington. His book, American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic is a study of political creativity in the founding era and his most recent title, First Family: Abigail and John Adams, is drawn from over 1200 letters exchanged between the couple and brings their story to life against the backdrop of the Republic's tenuous early years.

Ellis's commentaries have been featured on CSPAN, CNN, and PBS's Lehrer News Hour. He has appeared in several documentaries on early America, including "John and Abigail [Adams]" for PBS's The American Experience and a History Channel documentary on George Washington. His essays and book reviews appear regularly in national publications, such as The New York Times, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In addition to frequent public lectures throughout the United States, Ellis conducts seminars for federal judges with Professor Gordon Wood of Brown on "The Founders and Original Intent."

Ellis received his B.A. from the College of William and Mary, where he was initiated into Theta Delta Chi. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1969. He served in the United States Army and also taught at West Point until 1972. He is the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College where he has served since 1972.


The Joseph J. Ellis Scholarship for American History

This summer, The Great Books Summer Program is offering two scholarships in honor of internationally acclaimed and award-winning historian Joseph J. Ellis, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Founding Brothers, National Book Award winning American Sphinx, and the forthcoming Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence (Knopf, June 2013).

Ellis is one of the nation's foremost scholars of American history and these two scholarships are based on a minimum 500 word essay on the creation of America. To apply for the Joseph J. Ellis scholarships families need to complete the standard and financial aid applications along with submitting the required essay. The deadline is May 17, 2013 and entries should be sent to the address below.

"I am honored and thrilled that the Great Books Summer Program has created these scholarships in my name," said Ellis, who speaks at the program every 4th of July. "These scholarships go to a cause that I believe is really worthy. The program is based on an elegantly simple idea—bringing bright kids together to read great works and classic texts, which is the closest thing to the sacred for me."

The Great Books Summer Program, called "a community of precocious thinkers" by The Wall Street Journal, is a unique, celebrated academic series that is host to students between 6th-12th grades in residence at Amherst College, Stanford University, and, starting this year, Oxford University. The Great Books Summer Program utilizes the Socratic Method to help students recognize their own best thoughts, to develop their ideas with care, and practice reflective reading and critical thinking.

"For the last ten years, Joseph Ellis has generously shared his time and expertise with our students, who look forward to his inspired talks about the founding of our country. We could not be more pleased to honor him by offering these scholarships in his name," said David Ward, co-founder and President of The Great Books Summer Program.

Submit applications and essays to:

The Great Books Summer Foundation
P.O. Box 743
Fairfield, CT 06824

For questions about the scholarship, please contact The Great Books Summer Program at 1-866-480-READ.


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