Ted Widmer appointed director of John W. Kluge Center

Historians in the News
tags: Ted Widmer, John W Kluge Center

Historian, author, librarian and former presidential speechwriter Edward L. (Ted) Widmer, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York and a senior fellow and adjunct professor of history at Brown University, has been appointed director of The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, effective Oct. 3, 2016.

Widmer’s career spans the worlds of academia, politics and journalism. He is the author or editor of many historical treatises, including a book published this month, “The New York Times Disunion: A History of the Civil War”; “Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy”; a biography of Martin Van Buren; and “Ark of the Liberties: America and the World,” a 2008 publication that was featured as an “Editors’ Pick” by the New York Times. A forthcoming book, to be released in 2017, is “Lincoln on the Verge: An Odyssey, By Rail.”

Widmer was a lecturer in history and literature at Harvard University from 1993-1997. He briefly left academia to serve as special assistant to the president for National Security Affairs and director for speechwriting at the National Security Council, from 1997-2000, crafting foreign-policy speeches for President Bill Clinton. In his capacity as a special adviser to the president for special projects (2000-2001), he advised President Clinton on issues related to history and scholarship. Widmer continued his work with Clinton as a special assistant from 2001-2004, conducting in-depth interviews with the former president as he wrote his autobiography “My Life.” Simultaneously, Widmer returned to the academic world as the inaugural director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland (2001-2006).

From 2006-2012, he served as the Beatrice and Julio Mario Santo Domingo Director and Librarian at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. Under his direction, the Library upgraded its digital architecture and engaged in several digital partnerships and ventures including the creation of a digital archive of Haitian historical materials and participation in the World Digital Library, which is hosted by the Library of Congress.

Widmer returned to public service in 2012, when he accepted the role of senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her last year in office. He then returned to Brown as assistant to the president of Brown University for special projects (2012-2015), in which capacity he prepared a history of the university to commemorate its 250th anniversary (“Brown: The History of an Idea”), and returned to the classroom as an adjunct professor of history. Widmer has been with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs since 2015. He has been a frequent contributor to a variety of publications, including the New York Times, the Boston Globe and Politico. He also serves on the board of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Widmer holds an A.B. in the history and literature of France and America, an A.M. in history, and a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization, all from Harvard University.

The John W. Kluge Center was established at the Library of Congress in 2000 to foster a mutually enriching relationship between the world of ideas and the world of action, between scholars and political leaders. The Center attracts outstanding scholarly figures to Washington, D.C., facilitates their access to the Library’s remarkable collections, and helps them engage in conversation with policymakers and the public. Learn more at: http://www.loc.gov/kluge.

Read entire article at Press Release: Library of Congress

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