Biography of Joseph J. Ellis

Joseph J. Ellis is a noted historian of early American history, and an award-winning author. In 2001, he won the Pulitzer Prize in History for his book Founding Brothers.

Ellis has authored several other history books about the Revolutionary generation, including: First Family: Abigail and John Adams; Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams; American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic; His Excellency: George Washington; and American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, winner of the 1997 National Book Award.

Ellis earned his B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1965. He then received a Master of Arts, a Master of Philosophy, and a Ph.D from Yale University. After serving in the U.S. Army, he taught at West Point for three years, beginning in 1969. In 1972, Ellis joined the faculty of Mount Holyoke College as a history professor. There, he served as the dean of faculty for ten years, and received the Ford Foundation Chair in American History, among other accolades. During that time, he was the subject of a controversy when he lied about having served in Vietnam. After a period of suspension over the falsehood, he was reappointed to his position.

Ellis is also a regular contributor to several notable publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker. As a commentator, he has been featured on CBS, CNN, CSPAN, and PBS. In 2002, The History Channel produced Founding Brothers as a documentary, and Ellis appeared in the show.

Ellis currently lives in Amherst, where he teaches at the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts.

Study Guides on Works by Joseph J. Ellis