James Phinney Baxter III

James Phinney Baxter III

James Phinney Baxter III

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James Phinney Baxter III (February 15, 1893 – June 17, 1975) was an American historian, educator and academic. He won the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for history, for his book Scientists Against Time. He was also the author of The Introduction of the Ironclad Warship, which he wrote in 1933.

Baxter was initially educated at Portland High School and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He then attended Williams College where he was graduated as Valedictorian with Phi Beta Kappa honors and was a member of The Kappa Alpha Society. He obtained M.A. degrees from both Williams and Harvard University and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1926.

Baxter taught at Colorado College and then at Harvard, progressing from Instructor to full Professor in 10 years. He served as Master of Adams House. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1928. In 1937, he became president of Williams College.

In 1943 he was the part-time official historian of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, while serving as president of Williams College from 1937-1961. He was a member of the board of trustees of the World Peace Foundation.

He was the grandson of historian and mayor of Portland, Maine, James Phinney Baxter.


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