John Matteson

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John Matteson (born March 3, 1961) is an American professor of English and legal writing at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.[1] He won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for his first book Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father.[2]

Matteson is the son of Thomas D. Matteson (1920–2011), an airline executive jointly responsible for developing the theory of reliability-centered maintenance, and Rosemary H. Matteson (1920–2010), who worked as a commercial artist before becoming a homemaker.

Matteson attended Menlo School in Atherton, California. He earned an A.B. in history from Princeton University in 1983, a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986, and a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University in 1999.[3] He served as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle before working as a litigation attorney at Titchell, Maltzman, Mark, Bass, Ohleyer & Mishel in San Francisco and with Maupin, Taylor, Ellis & Adams in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has written articles for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New England Quarterly, Streams of William James, and Leviathan. His second book, The Lives of Margaret Fuller was published in January 2012 and received the 2012 Ann M. Sperber Biography Award as the year's outstanding biography of a journalist or other figure in media. It was also a finalist for the inaugural Plutarch Award, the prize for best biography of the year as chosen by the Biographers International Organization (BIO), and was shortlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. His annotated edition of Little Women is due to be published in November 2015.

Matteson is a former treasurer of the Melville Society and is a member of the Louisa May Alcott Society's advisory board. Matteson is a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and has served as the deputy director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography. He married Michelle Rollo in 1991. They have a daughter.


  1. ^ "Three New CUNY Distinguished Professors – CUNY Newswire – CUNY". 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  2. ^ Richard Ellmann. "The Pulitzer Prizes | Biography or Autobiography". Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  3. ^ [1]