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Fowler, William M., Jr. 1944–

Fowler, William M., Jr. 1944–

(William Morgan Fowler, Jr.)

PERSONAL: Born July 25, 1944, in Clearwater, FL; son of William Morgan (a U.S. post office employee) and Eleanor Fowler; married Marilyn Louise Noble (an elementary school teacher), August 11, 1968; children: Alison Louise, Nathaniel Morgan. Education: Northeastern University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1967; University of Notre Dame, M.A., 1969, Ph.D., 1971. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES: Home—Reading, MA. Office—Department of History, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Historian, educator, and writer. Northeastern University, Boston, MA, assistant professor, 1971–77, associate professor, 1977–80, professor of history 1980–98, distinguished professor of history, 2006–, acting associate dean of college of arts and sciences, 1977, vice provost, 1989–91, department chair, beginning 1993; Massachusetts Historical Society, director, 1998–2006. Has taught at Mystic Seaport Museum and has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Naval War College, and the Sea Education Association; Gay Hart Gaines Distinguished Fellow in American History at Washington's Mount Vernon, 2006–07. Trustee of the Paul Revere Memorial Association and the Old North Church Foundation. Military service: U.S. Army Reserve, 1970–84; became captain.

MEMBER: North American Society of Oceanic Historians, Organization of American Historians, U.S. Naval Institute, Naval Historical Foundation, Pilgrim Society (fellow), Paul Revere Memorial Association, New England Historic and Genealogical Society, Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Old South Association, Reading Antiquarian Society, Boston Marine Society (honorary member), USS Constitution Museum, Ralph Waldo Emerson Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, 1975; American Philosophical Society grant, 1976; Phi Alpha Theta Prize, 1976, for Rebels Under Sail: The American Navy During the Revolution; named one of Boston's ten best teachers, Real Paper, 1977; Samuel Eliot Morison Distinguished Service Award, USS Constitution Museum, 1985; Northeastern University Outstanding Alumnus Award, 1994; W. Erwin Story Citation, Northeastern University, for an alumnus whose commitment to Northeastern sets an example for fellow alumni.


William Ellery: A Rhode Island Politico and Lord of Admiralty, Scarecrow (Metuchen, NJ), 1973.

Rebels Under Sail: The American Navy During the Revolution, Scribner (New York, NY), 1976.

(Editor, with Wallace Coyle) The American Revolution: Changing Perspectives, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 1979.

The Baron of Beacon Hill: A Biography of John Hancock, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1980.

Jack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy, 1783–1815, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1984.

(Contributor) James C. Bradford, editor, Command Under Sail: Makers of Naval Tradition, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1985.

Under Two Flags: The American Navy in the Civil War, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1990.

Silas Talbot: Captain of Old Ironsides, Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT), 1995.

Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan, Longman (New York, NY), 1997.

(Coauthor) America and the Sea, Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, CT), 1998.

Empires at War: The French & Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754–1763, Walker & Company (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to World Book Encyclopedia and Dictionary of American Military Biography; contributor to professional journals, including American Neptune, Rhode Island History, New York Historical Society Quarterly, and Harvard magazine. Managing editor, New England Quarterly, 1981–.

SIDELIGHTS: A longtime history professor, William M. Fowler Jr., has written several books about the early United States, including three works that trace the history of the U.S. Navy. "But it seems unfair to call this author a professor, or his book a lesson," novelist Tom Clancy wrote in his Washington Post review of Jack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy, 1783–1815. "Fowler does not write like many academics. His book is a lively mixture of hard facts and fluent prose, and he has the wit to alternate between the military and political arenas at a pace sufficiently brisk to maintain the reader's interest." In his account of the founding of the new nation's navy, Fowler "deals with the politics, sometimes schematically," noted Los Angeles Times correspondent Richard Eder; "but his real pleasure, and ours, is his account of shipbuilding, battles and the quirks and quarrels of the early captains and commodores. His writing tends to yo-ho-ho," Eder continued; nevertheless, "if [Fowler] is a mite touched by hemp and pitch it is an attractive excess, giving the book descriptive and narrative vigor." Clancy also observed that "the general reader could hardly ask for more, and this entertaining and informative volume could well have lasted longer. Fowler is easily a good enough writer to retain interest longer than a mere 264 pages." Clancy concluded that Jack Tars and Commodores "is an uncommonly concise portrait of another age both different from and similar to our own."

Fowler's biography Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan was called a "traditional biography" of one of America's founding fathers by Historian contributor Peter C. Mancall. The reviewer went onto write: "Fowler describes Adams's world, often with skill," adding that the "achievement here is to bring the reader into the welter of Boston politics." Empires at War: The French & Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754–1763 is Fowler's history of what many consider to be the first global war. "In his lucid and accessible narrative, Fowler brings to life both the events and the major players," wrote Robert Flatley in the Library Journal. Kliatt contributor Patricia Moore called the book "an excellent historical work." In a review in the Weekly Standard, Patrick J. Walsh noted that the author "has made the French and Indian war accessible to everyone in this highly readable volume."



Beaver: Exploring Canada's History, December, 2005, J.D. Gravenor, review of Empires at War: The French & Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754–1763, p. 47.

Historian, summer, 1999, Peter C. Mancall, review of Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan, p. 903.

Kliatt, May, 2006, Patricia Moore, review of Empires at War, p. 34.

Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Robert Flatley, review of Empires at War, p. 127.

Los Angeles Times, June 11, 1984, Richard Eder, review of Jack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy, 1783–1815.

Washington Post, August 1, 1984, Tom Clancy, review of Jack Tars and Commodores.

Weekly Standard, August 15, 2005, Patrick J. Walsh, review of Empires at War, p. 33.


Northeastern University Web site, (October 18, 2006), faculty profile of author.

Teachers as Scholars, (October 18, 2006), brief profile of author.

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