Joseph J. Ellis

  • Joseph J. Ellis remembers his mentor Edmund Morgan

    Joseph J. Ellis (b 1943) was educated at the College of William and Mary (B.A.) and Yale University (M.A., Ph.D.).  Since 1972 he has taught courses in American history at Mount Holyoke College, where he also served as Dean of Faculty for ten years and Acting President (1983-84).  He recently retired from his position as the Ford Foundation Professor of History Emeritus.EDMUND MORGAN, who died Monday, was my teacher at Yale from 1965 to 1969 and my mentor and role model in America history ever since. In our last conversation, he declared that he was ready to go, that he had outlived his beloved Benjamin Franklin and did not wish to outlive himself.Ed was a rare breed, almost extinct these days, revered within the historical profession as the epitome of scholarly sophistication, while also the author of books that the general public found readable and seductive.He was a small man, almost diminutive, but the famous description of James Madison also applied to Ed: “Never have I seen so much mind in so little matter.” A plausible case can be made that he was the most significant and influential American historian in the last half of the 20th century....