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Ethno-historian and author James Axtell to speak April 13

March 31, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? James Axtell, an author and professor of humanities at The College of William and Mary, will deliver the annual Charles S. Grant Memorial Lecture on Sunday, April 13, at 8:15 p.m. in Dana Auditorium, located in Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125). The lecture, titled "Fact and Fiction in Native American History; or, How Champlain Lost New France," is free and open to the public.
Axtell is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Humanities at the College of William and Mary. He joined the faculty there in 1978, having previously taught at Yale, Sarah Lawrence and Northwestern.

His recent publications include "The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America" (1985), which was a History Book Club selection and received the Gilbert Chinard Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies, the Ermine Wheerler-Voegelin from the American Society for Ethnohistory, and the Albert B. Corey from the American Historical Association-Canadian Historical Association; "The Indians' New South: Cultural Change in the Colonial Southeast" (1997); "Natives and Newcomers: The Colonial Origins of North America" (2001); and "The Making of Princeton University: From Woodrow Wilson to the Present" (2006). He is currently working on "The Spirit of Learning: The Educational Vision of Woodrow Wilson and The Big Three: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton in American Life."

Axtell held a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship from 1975-1977, as well as fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the J. S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2004 he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Virginia State Council of Higher Education (1986) and has been honored by the Society of American Historians (1988), the Colonial Society of Massachusetts (1992), the Massachusetts Historical Society (1998), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2004), Phi Beta Kappa (2006), and the American Antiquarian Society (2007). He has served on the Editorial Board of History of Education Quarterly, William & Mary Quarterly; and Ethnohistory. He has chaired the AHA Columbus Quincentenary Committee and served as President of the American Society of Ethnohistory. He received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his doctorate from Cambridge University.

The Charles S. Grant Memorial Lecture commemorates the gifted and much loved teacher who was an esteemed scholar at Middlebury College in the 1950s until his death in 1961. Shortly thereafter, several colleagues and friends in the Middlebury community created a fund that eventually became large enough to establish an annual lectureship in American history as a tribute to him. Many prominent American historians of the past 35 years have delivered Grant lectures, including David McCullough, author of the best-selling biography "John Adams," James McPherson, John Lewis Gaddis and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

For more information, contact Travis Jacobs, Middlebury College professor of history, at or (802) 758-2351.