Jon Meacham

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Jon Meacham
Photo of Jon Meacham
Jon Meacham, 2014
Born Jon Ellis Meacham
(1969-05-20) May 20, 1969 (age 46)
Chattanooga, Tennessee, US
Occupation Writer, journalist, editor
Nationality American
Education BA
Alma mater The University of the South
Notable awards Pulitzer Prize
Years active 1995–present
Spouse Margaret Keith Smythe Meacham
Children 3

Jon Ellis Meacham (/ˈməm/; born May 20, 1969) is executive editor and executive vice president at Random House.[1] He is a former editor-in-chief of Newsweek, a contributing editor to Time magazine, editor-at-large of WNET, and a commentator on politics, history, and religious faith in America. He won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.

Meacham also wrote Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (2012), which appeared on many publications' year-end lists of the best nonfiction.


Jon Ellis Meacham was born on May 20, 1969 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the son of Jere Ellis Meacham and Linda McBrayer Meacham, an executive.[2][3] He attended St. Nicholas School, the McCallie School and the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he was an initiate of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.[4] He graduated summa cum laude in 1991 with a degree in English Literature, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.[5]

Meacham was an only child and spent his high school years living with his grandfather, Judge Ellis K. Meacham. The author of three Napoleonic-era maritime novels about the Bombay Marine of the East India Company, Judge Meacham gave Meacham his interest in history, literature, and politics.

Meacham joined Newsweek as a writer in January 1995, became national affairs editor in June of that year, and was named managing editor in November 1998. In September 2006, he was promoted to editor-in-chief. In August 2010 Meacham announced that he would depart Newsweek upon completion of the sale of the magazine by the Washington Post Company.[6][7][8] He has also written essays and reviews for The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times Book Review.

From May 2010 to April 2011, Meacham was co-host with Allison Stewart of Need to Know on PBS.[9]

Meacham has edited books by Al Gore, Clara Bingham, Charles Peters, Mary Soames, Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough, and others. He supervises the publication of the letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr..

His presidential biography of Andrew Jackson won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.[10] His 2015 biography of George H. W. Bush was criticized for being insufficiently hard-nosed in its depiction of its subject.[11]

Meacham is a contributing editor of The Washington Monthly, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a former trustee and member of the Board of Regents of University of the South, a Fellow of the Society of American Historians, a member of the Vestry of Trinity Wall Street, a trustee of the Churchill Centre, and a member of the Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. The Anti-Defamation League awarded Meacham the Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Prize. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in 2005 and holds five other honorary doctorates.

Meacham and his wife, Margaret Keith Smythe Meacham, a native of Mississippi, former executive director of the Harlem Day Charter School, and a former programs officer with the Fund for Public Schools in New York, live in Nashville, Tennessee,[12] with their three children. Meacham is a communicant of Saint Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue, where he has served on the Vestry of the 180-year-old Episcopal parish.[13]




  1. ^ American Lion won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.[10]


  1. ^ Bosman, Julie (October 20, 2010). "Ex-Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham Heads to Random House". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Meacham, Jere Ellis". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ Putnam, Yolanda (April 21, 2009). "Chattanooga native Meacham picks up Pulitzer Prize". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ Alpha Tau Omega National Directory. White Plains: Harris Publishing Co., 1994, p. 442.
  5. ^ "Meacham biography". Newsweek. June 15, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ Calderone, Michael (April 24, 2009). "Newsweek’s Meacham prepares to leave the magazine | The Upshot Yahoo! News". Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ Jon Meacham (June 15, 2010). "Authors". Newsweek. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Commentary Magazine article". Commentary Magazine article. October 16, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Alison Stewart Leaving 'Need To Know' on PBS". August 29, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "The 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Biography or Autobiography". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-26. With biographical blurb and dustjacket description.
  11. ^ Senior, Jennifer (November 15, 2015). "Review: In 'Destiny and Power,' George H.W. Bush Epitomizes a Vanishing G.O.P.". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Headline Homes: Nashville's top sales, December 2011 | Nashville Post". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  13. ^ "Jon Meacham: About". Jon Meacham. Retrieved November 22, 2015. 

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