Joseph Ellis

Joseph Ellis

Infobox Writer
name = Joseph Ellis

imagesize = 200px
caption =Joseph Ellis in 2007
pseudonym =
birthdate = 1943
birthplace =
deathdate =
deathplace =
occupation = Professor
nationality = United States
period =
genre = History
subject =
movement =
notableworks = ""
influences =
influenced =
website =
footnotes =

:"For the basketball player, see Joe Ellis"

Joseph John Ellis (born 1943) is a Professor of History on the Ford Foundation at Mount Holyoke College. His 2000 text, "", received the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2001.

Background and teaching

He received his B.A. from the College of William and Mary, where he was initiated into Theta Delta Chi, and 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 when he joined the faculty at Mount Holyoke College. He is the former dean of faculty at Mount Holyoke and also served as Acting President for part of 1984 while President Elizabeth Topham Kennan was on leave.

Jefferson and Hemings

Ellis in his book "American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson" suggested that evidence for an affair between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings was "inconclusive". [cite news | first= | last= | url=| title=Joseph Ellis: Putting History in Perspective|| date=2000| accessdate=2006-08-04] Specifically, Ellis states in the appendix to "American Sphinx",

Unless the trustees of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation decide to exhume the remains and do DNA testing on Jefferson as well as some of his alleged progeny, it leaves the matter a mystery about which advocates on either side can freely speculate... This means that for those who demand an answer the only recourse is plausible conjecture, prefaced as it must be with profuse statements about the flimsy and wholly circumstantial character of the evidence. In that spirit, which we might call the spirit of responsible speculation, after five years mulling over the huge cache of evidence that does exist on the thought and character of the historical Jefferson, I have concluded that the likelihood of a liaison with Sally Hemings is remote. [cite news | first= Joseph | last= Ellis | url=| title="Appendix:Note on the Sally Hemings Scandal" From "American Sphinx", pp.303-307||date=1996| accessdate=2006-08-04]

Dr. Eugene Foster published an article in the November 5, 1998 issue of the weekly journal, "Nature", called "Jefferson Fathered Slave's Last Child." In the article, Foster states that DNA testing proved that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally's son, Eston. [cite news | first= | last= | url=| title=Frontline: Jefferson's Blood: The History of a Story| date=| accessdate=2006-08-04]

On November 2, 1998, "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" ran a feature on this topic, stating that, "according to an article in an upcoming issue of the journal "Nature", DNA analysis shows that Jefferson almost certainly fathered at least one of Sally Hemings' children, her last son, Eston." [cite news | first= | last= | url=| title=Online Newshour: Thomas Jefferson|| date=1998-11-02| accessdate=2006-08-04] Ellis, who was interviewed during this broadcast, stated that he had revised his opinion due to this new evidence:

:It's not so much a change of heart, but this is really new evidence. And it—prior to this evidence, I think it was a very difficult case to know and circumstantial on both sides, and, in part, because I got it wrong, I think I want to step forward and say this new evidence constitutes, well, evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that Jefferson had a longstanding sexual relationship with Sally Hemings. [cite news | first= | last= | url=| title=Online Newshour: Thomas Jefferson|| date=1998-11-02| accessdate=2006-08-04]

Vietnam war

Ellis became the subject of controversy when the "Boston Globe" published an article on June 18, 2001, revealing that he had exaggerated his involvement in the Vietnam War (he served in uniform in America but did not go to Vietnam as he had claimedto students and to the media). [cite news | first=Marshall | last=John | url=| title=Ellis doesn't want to revisit his own past|| date=2004-12-07| accessdate=2008-07-08] Ellis issued a public apology in August. [cite news | first=Joseph | last=Ellis | url=| title=Further Statement of Joseph J. Ellis|| date=2001-08-17| accessdate=2006-08-04] Mount Holyoke suspended him from his endowed chair (until further review) as well as from teaching during the 2001-2002 academic year. [cite news | first=Joanne | last=Creighton | url=| title=A Letter to the Mount Holyoke Community|| date=2001-08-17| accessdate=2006-08-04] In May 2005, Mount Holyoke restored his chair. [cite news | first= | last= | url=| title=Trustees Name Four Faculty Members to Endowed Chairs| publisher= Mount Holyoke College|date=2005-05-20]


*2001 Pulitzer Prize for History for "" [cite news | first=| last=| url=| title=2001 Pulitzer Prize Winners| | date=2001 | accessdate=2006-08-04]
* 1997 National Book Award (nonfiction) winner for "."



* "", 2007. [ [ Book summary] ]
* "," 2004.
*"After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture", 2002.
* "", 2000.
*"What Did the Declaration Declare? (Historians at Work)," 1999.
* "", 1996.
*"", 1993.
*"School for Soldiers: West Point and the Profession of Arms," 1974.
*"The New England Mind in Transition: Samuel Johnson of Connecticut, 1696–1772," 1973.


*" [,0,3818349.story?coll=la-opinion-center 'The better angels' side with Obama: The candidate's appeal to a more unified electorate rings historically true] " - "Los Angeles Times" (Jan. 19, 2008)
*" [,1,4077372.story?coll=la-news-a_section&ctrack=1&cset=true A promise of unpredictability: Presidential candidates pledge a lot, but history says you can ignore most of it] " - "Los Angeles Times" (Jan. 2, 2008)
*" [ What Would George Do?: Okay, He Never Saw a Chopper, but He Can Still Teach Us a Thing or Two.] " - "Washington Post" (Dec. 23, 2007)
*" [ Finding a Place for 9/11 in American History] " - "New York Times" (Jan. 28, 2006)


External links

* [ Biography from The Pulitzer Board]
* [ Biography from Mount Holyoke]

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