Andrew Delbanco

Andrew Delbanco is Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies, president of the Teagle Foundation, and past president (2021-22) of the Society of American Historians.

His recent book The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War (Penguin Press, 2018), named a New York Times notable book, was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf prize for “books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity,” the Lionel Trilling Award, and the Mark Lynton History Prize, sponsored by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, for a work “of history, on any subject, that best combines intellectual or scholarly distinction with felicity of expression.”  

Professor Delbanco’s other books include College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be (Princeton University Press, 2012; second edition 2023), and Melville: His World and Work (Knopf, 2005), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in biography. His essays appear in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Nation, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other periodicals, on topics ranging from American literature and history to contemporary issues in higher education. 

In 2006, Professor Delbanco was honored with the Great Teacher Award by the Society of Columbia Graduates. In 2012, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. In 2022 he delivered the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, “the highest honor conferred by the federal government for intellectual achievement in the humanities,” on “The Question of Reparations: Our Past, Our Present, Our Future.”