Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.

Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Meier), Jr.

(1917–  ) historian; born in Columbus, Ohio (son of Arthur Meier Schlesinger). After graduating from Harvard (1938) and a year at Cambridge University, England, he went back to Harvard to do the research that led to The Age of Jackson (1945) (Pulitzer Prize, 1946). During World War II he served with the Office of War Information (1942–43) and the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) (1943–45). He returned to teach history at Harvard (1946–61) and became widely known for his multivolume history of the Franklin D. Roosevelt era. Long active in politics—he was a founder of Americans for Democratic Action and a speech writer for Adlai Stevenson's 1952 presidential campaign—he left to become special assistant to President John F. Kennedy (1961–63) and then to President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–64). After publishing his account of the Kennedy years, A Thousand Days (1965) (Pulitzer Prize, 1966), he became a Schweitzer professor at the City University of New York (1967). In his later years, he became one of the best-known American historians, both through his own writings on topics of general concern and because of his willingness to comment publicly whenever the media needed an academic to provide some historical perspective.