Truman Biographer to Deliver Commencement Address at Hamilton College
McCullough, author of six widely acclaimed books, including the PulitzerPrize- winning biography, Truman, was born in Pittsburgh in 1933. In1955, he graduated from Yale University with honors in English literature, andwithin a year began working in New York at Sports Illustrated. Duringthe Kennedy Administration, McCullough served as an editor on a magazinepublished by the U.S. Information Agency, and later worked as an editor forAmerican Heritage magazine.
McCullough published his first book, The Johnstown Flood, in 1968. Hisnext book, The Great Bridge, a story of the building of the BrooklynBridge, was published in 1972 to thunderous critical applause. It also wonseveral prizes, including a special citation for excellence from the Society ofAmerican Historians. The Path Between the Seas, an epic chronicle ofthe creation of the Panama Canal, was published in 1977 and received severalawards including the National Book Award for history.
While researching and writing The Path Between the Seas, McCulloughbecame deeply interested in Theodore Roosevelt, one of the key figures in thestory. Out of that fascination came Mornings on Horseback in 1981, hisbiographical study of Roosevelt's childhood, adolescence and early manhood,which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Subsequently, in 1992 he publishedBrave Companions, a book of essays on heroic figures past and present.
His monumental Truman, a work of 10 years, has been called a"masterpiece of American biography." An unprecedented national bestseller, thebook has sold over a million copies to date. The recently released film Truman,starring Anthony Hopkins, was also based on McCullough's biography.
Since 1989, McCullough has hosted the PBS television show, The AmericanExperience. Previously, he hosted Smithsonian World and narratedthe Emmy Award-winning documentary series, The Civil War, in 1990.
He is twice winner of the National Book Award and the prestigious FrancesParkman Prize. Most recently, McCullough was honored with the Charles FrankelPrize in a ceremony at the White House. President Clinton praised his"remarkable body of work" as well as his efforts toward preservation ofhistoric sites.
The president of the Society of American Historians and a founding member ofProtect Historic America, McCullough's other awards include the PennsylvaniaGovernor's Award for Excellence in the Humanities, the Harry S. Truman Awardfor Public Service and a Guggenheim fellowship. In November 1995, he wasawarded the National Book Foundation's Distinguished Contribution to AmericaLetters Award for his lifetime of work.
A gifted and popular speaker, he has lectured in all parts of the world, aswell as at the White House as part of the White House Presidential LectureSeries. He is also one of the few private citizens ever invited to speakbefore a joint session of Congress, at the time of the bicentennial.
During the commencement ceremony, McCullough will receive an honorary degreefrom Hamilton College. He holds 17 other honorary degrees and has taught atCornell University, Dartmouth College and the Wesleyan University WritersConference.
Currently, McCullough is working on a book about Thomas Jefferson and JohnAdams. An avid traveler, reader and painter, he lives in West Tisbury, Mass.,with his wife, Rosalee Barnes McCullough. They have five children and eightgrandchildren.