Woody Holton: University of Richmond history professor receives Guggenheim fellowship





University of Richmond history professor Woody Holton has been awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the university's first professor to receive the prestigious award.

The fellowship will support Holton's work on a biography of Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams. Holton will take a one-year sabbatical during the 2008-09 academic year to complete "Abigail Adams, Entrepreneur."

This year's is the 84th annual Guggenheim competition in the United States and Canada. The foundation awarded $8.2 million to 190 recipients, chosen from 2,600 applications. The research awards are designed to help advanced professionals in natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and creative arts.

Holton is honored alongside Pulitzer Prize winners Jonathan Weiner and Margo Jefferson, fiction writers Lan Samantha Chang and Thad Ziolkowski, poets Michael Paul Burkard and Rae Armantrout, filmmakers Anne Makepeace and Rodney Evans, and other scholars and artists representing 75 disciplines and 81 academic institutions.

Holton's 2008 book "Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution" was a finalist for the National Book Award. It also was recently named a finalist for the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize, which honors work that explores the Revolutionary era. The winner will be announced later this month.

Holton's 1999 book "Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia" won him a residential fellowship from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Merle Curti Social History Award from the Organization of American Historians, and the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award from the New York Sons of the Revolution

Holton joined the University of Richmond's history faculty in 2000. He previously taught at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. Before entering academia, Holton was a political organizer and founded a grassroots environmental organization, Clean Up Congress.


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