jimsmile.jpg

ABOUT ME

EDUCATION:

Bloom Township High School: a large comprehensive, urban high school outside of Chicago where I was editor of the student newspaper.

Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota:  Graduated Magna Cum Laude; awarded   Woodrow Wilson Two-Year Fellowship for graduate school.

University of Wisconsin: M.A. (1963); Ph.D. (1966) in American History


EMPLOYMENT:

University of Maryland, History Department (1966-2012) Also Visiting Chair, Department of Art-Art History


Honors:

           Distinguished Scholar-Teacher            

Distinguished University Professor

         

Visiting Professor

Columbia University

University of Virginia

University of Paris


Fulbright Fellowships:

Uppsala University, Sweden: Awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters

Amsterdam University

Sydney University, Australia

 Tubingen University, Germany

 Erfurt University, Germany  (Two Appointments)


Brief Biography:


            I grew up in a small golfing village south of Chicago, but had the great good fortune to attend a large high school in a neighboring industrial city where I was able to shrug off some of the parochialism of my home town.  In my senior year, I became editor of the student newspaper. I attended Carleton College for my undergraduate education: a somewhat cloistered and provincial place at that time, but offering a superb broad curriculum in the liberal arts.  I started off majoring in English literature, spent my junior year in London and Paris, and when I returned, I drifted into American Studies my final year. Next came the university of Wisconsin where I entered the American History program and encountered a remarkable, cosmopolitan student body and a sophisticated and renowned faculty.  The atmosphere was both vibrant intellectually and super-charged politically with opposition to the ongoing War in Vietnam.  During my final two years I married and had one daughter.


          After earning my Ph.D., I was hired as a junior faculty member at the University of Maryland, where, aside from several years teaching elsewhere, I spent my entire career.  During that this time I published eleven historical works and participated in writing an American History textbook.  My greatest joy, at Maryland, aside from researching and publishing and interacting with colleagues were the many graduate students that I helped steer through to their degrees.


          Although this brief biography sketches the bare outlines of an academic career in teaching, mentoring and publishing, it does not reveal anything of the evolution in my thinking that eventually led me to the writing of fiction.  Most historians would probably admit that history and literature are closely related, sharing something of the same structures of plot, story, and the revelation of character.  Perhaps because of this affinity and my background in literature, I was finally drawn to writing fiction.  That has become my new profession.