James Merrell

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James Hart Merrell (born 1953, Minnesota) is the Lucy Maynard Salmon Professor of History at Vassar College. Professor Merrell is one of the leading scholars of early American history, and has written extensively on Native American history during the colonial era. Professor Merrell is one of only five historians to be awarded the Bancroft Prize twice.[1]


He was raised in Minnesota. Merrell earned his undergraduate degree at Lawrence University and continued his studies at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.[2] He received his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1982.


Merrell was a Fellow at The Newberry Library Center for the History of the American Indian in Chicago and at the Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, Virginia. He has also received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

He has taught at Vassar College since 1984, except for the 1998-1999 academic year, when he was a professor at Northwestern University.