Eric Foner

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Eric Foner

Eric Foner (born February 7, 1943 in New York City ) is an American historian , best known for his work on the Reconstruction era after the American Civil War . He is a DeWitt Clinton Professor at Columbia University .

Foner first studied physics at Columbia University, then switched to history and received his bachelor's degree in this subject in 1963 . He then went to Oriel College of the University of Oxford , where he graduated in 1965 another BA. In 1969 he received his doctorate with Richard Hofstadter at Columbia University. In 1973 he became a professor at City College of New York and in 1982 at Columbia University.

He was visiting professor at Cambridge (Pitt Professor 1980), Oxford (Harmsworth Professor), Princeton (1976/77), at the University of London (Queen Mary College) and at Lomonossow University . He was President of the Organization of American Historians (1993/94) and the American Historical Association (2000).

In 1989 he received the Bancroft Prize for his book Reconstruction . In 2000 he was president of the American Historical Association . For his book The Fiery Trial, about Abraham Lincoln's attitudes towards slavery throughout his life, he received the 2011 Pulitzer Prize , the Bancroft Prize and the Lincoln Prize . For Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad , Foner received the American History Book Prize from the New York Historical Society .

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences , the British Academy, and the American Philosophical Society . Foner holds multiple honorary doctorates from Iona College, Queen Mary College (London), State University of New York ). He is married to dance historian Lynn Garafola (professor at Barnard College, Columbia University) and has one child. His first marriage was to Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal .

Foner's father was the historian Jack D. Foner (1910-1999), who was dismissed from the City College of New York in 1941 (a consequence of the Rapp-Coudert Committee ) because of leftist sympathies (and because he taught too much African-American history) with 40 others ). He was on a blacklist and was only able to get a professorship again at Colby College in 1969 . In between he and his family made a living as an entertainer and drummer (he played with Harry Belafonte and Paul Robeson ). His scholarly works include Blacks and the Military in American History (1974).


  • Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men. The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford et al. 1970, ISBN 0-19-501352-2 .
  • as editor: America's Black Past. A Reader in Afro-American History. Harper and Row, New York NY 1970.
  • as editor: Nat Turner. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs NJ 1971, ISBN 0-13-933143-3 .
  • Tom Paine and Revolutionary America. Oxford University Press, New York NY et al. 1976, ISBN 0-19-501986-5 .
  • Politics and Ideology in the Age of the Civil War. Oxford University Press, New York NY et al. 1980, ISBN 0-19-502781-7 .
  • Nothing but Freedom. Emancipation and Its Legacy. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge LA et al. 1983, ISBN 0-8071-1118-X .
  • Reconstruction. America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877. Harper and Row, New York NY et al. 1988, ISBN 0-06-015851-4 (the book received the Bancroft, Francis Parkman, Lionel Trilling, Avery O. Craven Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award; multiple editions).
  • as editor: The New American History. Temple University Press, Philadelphia PA 1990, ISBN 0-87722-698-9 .
  • with Olivia Mahoney: A House Divided. America in the Age of Lincoln. Chicago Historical Society in association with WW Norton, New York NY et al. 1990, ISBN 0-393-02755-4 (exhibition).
  • as editor with John A. Garraty: The Reader's Companion to American History. Houghton-Mifflin, Boston MA 1991, ISBN 0-395-51372-3 .
  • The Tocsin of Freedom. The Black Leadership of Radical Reconstruction (= 31st Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture. ). Gettysburg College, Gettysburg PA 1992.
  • Freedom's Lawmakers. A Directory of Black Officeholders During Reconstruction. Oxford University Press, New York NY et al. 1993, ISBN 0-19-507406-8 .
  • Slavery and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1994, ISBN 0-19-952266-9 .
  • with Olivia Mahoney: America's Reconstruction. People and Politics After the Civil War. HarperPerennial, New York NY 1995, ISBN 0-06-055346-4 (exhibited by Virginia Historical Society).
  • The Story of American Freedom. WW Norton, New York NY et al. 1998, ISBN 0-393-04665-6 .
  • Who Owns History? Rethinking the Past in a Changing World. Hill and Wang, New York NY 2002, ISBN 0-8090-9704-4 .
  • Give Me Liberty! An American History. WW Norton, New York NY et al. 2004, ISBN 0-393-97872-9 .
    • together with the document collection: as editor: Voices of Freedom. A Documentary History. 2 volumes. WW Norton, New York NY et al. 2005, ISBN 0-393-92503-X (Vol. 1), ISBN 0-393-92504-8 (Vol. 2).
  • Forever Free. The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction. Knopf, New York NY 2005, ISBN 0-375-40259-4 .
  • as editor: Our Lincoln. New Perspectives on Lincoln and his World. WW Norton, New York, NY et al. 2008, ISBN 978-0-393-06756-9 .
  • The Fiery Trial. Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. WW Norton, New York NY et al. 2010, ISBN 978-0-393-06618-0 .
  • Gateway to Freedom. The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad. WW Norton, New York NY et al. 2015, ISBN 978-0-393-24407-6 .

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