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John Welsh Centennial Professor of History: Richard R. Beeman

December 21, 2010, Volume 57, No. 16


Richard R. Beeman has been appointed the John Welsh Centennial Professor of History in the School of Arts and Sciences. As a historian of the American Revolutionary Era, Dr. Beeman’s research focuses on aspects of America’s political and constitutional history in the 18th and 19th centuries. He has written seven books and is currently working on his eighth, which is focused on the Continental Congress. His latest, The Penguin Guide to the United States was published by Penguin Press in August. His book, Plain Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution (Random House, 2009) won the George Washington Book Prize and the Literary Award of the Philadelphia Athenaeum. He has also written several dozen articles.

He has received numerous other awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the Huntington Library. He has served as a Fulbright Professor in the United Kingdom and as Vyvyan Harmsworth Distinguished Professor of American History at Oxford University.

Dr. Beeman received his doctorate in history from the University of Chicago and has been a member of Penn’s faculty for 43 years. He has served as chair of the department of history, associate dean in the School, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center and is chair of the Constitution Center’s Committee on Programs, Exhibits and Education.

The John Welsh Centennial Professorship in History was created in 1877 and was one of the first three named professorships endowed at the University. It honors John Welsh, a University trustee and US Minister to Great Britain who is known for raising the funds to stage Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition of 1876.


Almanac - December 21, 2010, Volume 57, No. 16