Daniel Woolf

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Daniel Woolf

Principal of Queen's University
In office
September 1, 2009 – June 30, 2019
Preceded byThomas R. Williams
Succeeded byPatrick Deane
Personal details
Born (1958-12-05) 5 December 1958 (age 61)
London, England
Spouse(s)Julie Gordon-Woolf
ChildrenSarah, Samuel, David

Daniel Robert Woolf FSA FRHistS FRSC (born 5 December 1958) is a British-Canadian historian. He served as the 20th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, a position to which he was appointed in January 2009 and took up as of September 1, 2009.[1] He was previously Professor, Department of History and Classics, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts until April 2009. He was reappointed to a second term as Queen’s Principal (to 2019) early in 2013. On November 28, 2017 Woolf announced his intention to retire from the Principalship at the end of June 2019. He was succeeded by Patrick Deane, and appointed Principal Emeritus by Queen’s Board of Trustees. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Queen’s for services to scholarship and higher education.

Daniel Woolf speaking at a Queen’s University event in Hong Kong 2018

Academic career[edit]

Daniel Woolf graduated from St. Paul's High School, Winnipeg, in 1976. He received a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in History from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario in 1980,[citation needed] and received a D.Phil. in Modern History from Oxford University in 1983,[2] where he was supervised by the distinguished historian of seventeenth-century England and Master of St Peter's College, Oxford, Gerald Aylmer. Along with historians John Morrill and Paul Slack, Woolf would eventually co-edit the festschrift honouring Aylmer (1993). Among Woolf's contemporaries at St Peter's was David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. Woolf was appointed an honorary fellow of St Peter's in 2009.

Woolf returned to Canada in 1984 and taught at Queen's University as a SSHRCC postdoctoral fellow (1984–86), Bishop's University (1986–87), Dalhousie University (1987–1999), McMaster University (1999–2002), and the University of Alberta.[3] He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Society of Antiquaries of London, and the Royal Historical Society.[3] In 1996–97 he was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, a class that included noted sociologist of science Thomas F. Gieryn, anthropologist Kay Warren, and cognitive scientist Mark Turner. Woolf's major areas of research are in Tudor and Stuart British history and the history of historiography both in Britain and globally.

Administrative career[edit]

Woolf's administrative career began as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie (1998–99), a period including six months as Acting Dean of that Faculty. In 1999 he moved to McMaster University, serving for three years as Dean of its Faculty of Humanities. In 2002, he was appointed Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta, succeeding Kenneth Norrie, who had recently become McMaster's Provost. Woolf was reappointed in 2007, and commenced his second term in 2008 following a year's administrative leave during which he returned to his research. In January 2009 it was announced that he was resigning the position to take up the Principalship of Queen’s.

Appointments and Boards[edit]

Woolf is a member of the board of directors of Historica (formerly the Historica-Dominion Institute (2012– )) and a past member of the Royal Society of Canada Executive Committee (2012–15).

Personal life[edit]

Born in London, England, but raised in Winnipeg,[1] Woolf is a dual citizen of Canada and the United Kingdom.[3] His parents were the late Cyril I. Woolf (1930–2012), an otolaryngologist, and the late Margaret M. Woolf, a former part-time university instructor in English literature. His uncle is historian Stuart Woolf, and his younger brother is Vancouver-based architect Jeremy Woolf.

Woolf is married to Julie Anne Gordon-Woolf, a health sciences administrator and professional harpist. He has three children from a previous marriage to political science professor Jane Arscott, Sarah (b 1989), Samuel (b 1990) and David (b 1993).[3]


  • The Idea of History in Early Stuart England, University of Toronto Press 1990
  • (co-ed., with John Morrill and Paul Slack) Public Duty and Private Conscience in Seventeenth-Century England, Oxford University Press 1993
  • (co-ed., with T.F. Mayer) Rhetorics of Life-Writing in Early Modern Europe, University of Michigan Press, 1995
  • (ed.) A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing, Garland, 1998
  • Reading History in Early Modern England, Cambridge University Press, 2000
  • (co-ed., with Adam Fox) The Spoken Word: Oral Culture in Britain 1500–1850, Manchester University Press, 2002
  • The Social Circulation of the Past, Oxford University Press, 2003
  • (co-ed., with Norman L. Jones) Local Identities in Late Medieval and Early Modern England, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007
  • A Global History of History, Cambridge University press, 2011
  • The Oxford History of Historical Writing, (general editor), 5 vols, Oxford University Press, 2011–12
  • A Concise History of History, Cambridge University press, 2019


  1. ^ a b Elizabeth Church (28 January 2009). "Woolf named Queen's new principal". The Globe and Mail.
  2. ^ "Woolf, D. R. (Daniel R.), (1983). Change and continuity in English historical thought, c. 1590-1640. DPhil. University of Oxford". Oxford Research Archive. University of Oxford.
  3. ^ a b c d "Daniel Woolf CV". Archived from the original on 23 April 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2009.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Thomas R. Williams
Principal of Queen's University
2009 – 2019
Succeeded by
Patrick Deane