Presidential Historian to Join Mason Faculty

Posted: January 30, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Richard Nortton Smith
Richard Norton Smith

A prominent leader and founder of several presidential libraries and institutions, Richard Norton Smith will join the George Mason faculty this year. Smith, the director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Ill., will be a scholar-in-residence jointly in the Department of History and Art History and the School of Public Policy.

Smith has run six institutions for former presidents and top political figures. He is a nationally recognized expert on the American presidency and appears regularly on C-Span and “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” as part of the show’s roundtable of historians.

He has published numerous books, including “An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover” (1984), “The Harvard Century: The Making of a University to a Nation” (1986) and “Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation” (1993). His book, “Thomas E. Dewey and His Times,” was a finalist for the 1983 Pulitzer Prize.

Between 1987 and 2003, Smith served as director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa; the Dwight D. Eisenhower Center in Abilene, Kan.; the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and the Reagan Center for Public Affairs in Simi Valley, Calif.; the Gerald R. Ford Museum and Library in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, Mich., respectively; and Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

While at Mason, Smith will complete a biography of Nelson Rockefeller. He is also researching and assessing the nation’s presidential library system.

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