Fredriksen, John C(onrad) 1953-

views updated

FREDRIKSEN, John C(onrad) 1953-


Born February 18, 1953, in Quonset Point NAS, RI; son of John (a Navy department employee) and Erselia (a waitress; maiden name, Borelli) Fredriksen. Ethnicity: "Norwegian/Italian." Education: University of California, B.A. (history), 1980; University of Michigan, M.A. (American history), 1984; University of Rhode Island, M.S. (library and information sciences), 1989; Providence College, D.Phil. (U.S. history), 1993. Politics: Republican. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Paleontology, dolphins, classical music, cartoon animation, rock and roll from 1954-64.


Home—154 Carpenter St., Wakefield, RI 02879. E-mail—[email protected].


Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, Hollywood, CA, cel painter, 1977-87; independent military historian, Salem, MA, 1993—.


American Historical Association, Phi Alpha Theta.


Albert J. Beveridge Research Grant, University of California, 1983; research grant, David Library of the American Revolution, 1988; Baker & Taylor grass roots grant award, 1988; director's grant, Indiana Historical Society, 1997; research grant, Minnesota Historical Society, 1997; research grant, New Jersey Historical Society, 1997; Archie K. Davis fellowship, North Caroliniana Society, 1997; Lilly Library Everett Helm visiting fellowship, Indiana University, 1997; Vice Admiral Edwin B. Hooper postgraduate grant, Naval Historical Center, 1997; independent research grant, Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, 1999; Eastern National Harold L. Peterson Award, 1999; research grant, U.S. Marines Corps Historical Center, 2000; Margaret Storrs Grierson travel-to-collection grant, Smith College, 2000; Larry J. Hackman Research Residency, New York State Archives, 2000; RUSA Outstanding Reference Source, American Library Association, 2000; Advanced Research Scholar, Henry E. Eccles Library, U.S. Naval War College, 2001.


Resource Guide for the War of 1812, Subia Inc. (Los Angeles, CA), 1979.

Free Trade and Sailors' Rights: A Bibliography of the War of 1812, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1985.

Officers of the War of 1812, with Portraits and Anecdotes, Edwin Mellen Press (Lewiston, NY), 1989.

Shield of Republic/Sword of Empire: A Bibliography of U.S. Military Affairs, 1783-1846, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1989.

(Compiler) Flying Model Warplanes: An International Directory to Plans and Kits, Air Age Publishing (Wilton, CT), 1989.

War of 1812 Eyewitness Accounts: An Annotated Bibliography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1997.

American Military Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present, 2 volumes, ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA), 1999.

(Compiler) Dino-Guide: The Saurian Source Book, Dollar Scholar Press (Salem, MA), 1999.

Warbirds: An Illustrated Guide to United States Military Aircraft, 1915-2000, ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA), 1999.

American Military Leaders (CD-ROM), ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA), 1999.

World Military Leaders (CD-ROM), edited by Tim O'Donnell, ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA), 1999.

Surgeon of the Lakes: The Diary of Dr. Usher Parsons, 1812-1814, Erie County Historical Society (Erie, PA), 2000.

International Warbirds: An Illustrated Guide to World Military Aircraft, 1914-2000, ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA), 2001.

America's Military Adversaries: From Colonial Times to the Present, ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA), 2001.

Biographical Dictionary of Modern World Leaders: 1992 to the Present, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2003.

Biographical Dictionary of Modern World Leaders: 1900-1991, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2004.

Tornado! The Saga of America's First Jet Bomber, Smithsonian Press (Washington, DC), 2005.

Contributor of essays to books, including American National Biography, edited by John Garrity and Mark C. Carners, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1999; Dictionary of World Biography: The Twentieth Century, edited by Frank N. Magill, Salem Press (Pasadena, CA), 1999; Magill's Guide to Military History, edited by John Powell, Salem Press, 2000; Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, edited by David S. Heidler and Jeanne Heidler, ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA), 2000; Encyclopedia of Land Warfare, edited by Stanley Sandler, ABC-CLIO, 2002; and Encyclopedia of American History, edited by Gary B. Nash, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2003. Contributor of articles to Journal of America's Military Past, Military Collector and Historian, Bulletin of Bibliography, Film and History, and American Aviation Historical Society.


John C. Fredriksen told CA: "My reasons for penning thoughts on paper lay probably beyond the realm of most writers to comprehend. A former high-school dropout, I entertained little desire to write or publish until well into my college years. I ascribe this reticence to lack of confidence in my ability for cogent and creative expression. My actual 'career' as a writer commenced in 1979 when I won a small grant from the University of California—Los Angeles and complied the first-ever bibliography on the War of 1812. I have since been attracted to this particular format of reference book, and subsequently published several similar tomes. As a graduate student, I also found myself increasingly drawn to historical editing which, beyond meticulous attention to detail, requires contextual introductions for the benefit of readers. My twenty published collections thus proved a convenient outlet for creative writing. By the time I obtained my doctorate, my incremental approach to writing sufficiently prepared me to venture into print. The thrust of my publishing remains centered upon reference books, but I have since graduated to lengthy biographical or topical encyclopedias. Suffice to say, I entered historical writing through the back door—and never left!

"My motivation behind writing is simple: in everything I do, strive to be first. This means cultivating awareness of topics less popular than others, or in a scholarly sense, completely ignored. Thus the rise of my 'pot hole' approach to historical inquiry: identify lacunae in the broad historical canvass—then fill them in. For example, my essay 'Green Coats and Glory,' the first-ever treatment of the U.S. Regiment of Rifleman, 1808-1821, took two decades to research and refine. Yet, when published in 1999, it won the prestigious Harold L. Peterson prize for best essay in military history. Similarly, I spent the past fifteen years inquiring about the North American B-45 Tornado, America's first jet bomber; my book Tornado! represents the first treatment of that aerial obscurity. History, as a discipline, is subject to the vagaries of human memory, whereby the most popular and obvious topics are continually covered and re-covered. But originality has a quality, an excellence all its own. Therefore, if it has never been done, do it; if it has yet to be dreamt, conceive it—and never, never let creativity be shackled by scholarly convention. Your labors can only add to our intellectual largeness, and contribute to the ongoing tapestry of human experience.

"I never distilled a coherent strategy for writing, per se, although my research methodology is extensive and time-consuming. Otherwise, I simply tack on a chronological outline to subjects in question and flesh them out one paragraph at a time. This stately, Prussian-like deliberation enables me to formulate and modify my thoughts en transit without having to revise them later. From the stand-point of actual technique, I characterize my prose as 'saying more with less.' Finished drafts are inevitably pared down through multiple revisions until they read satisfactorily. Here I combine the eloquence of prose with the forcefulness of simplicity to render my narrative both informative and engaging.

"On a personal basis, I find historical writing both daunting and rewarding in equal measure. Daunting in the sense of scouting new intellectual vistas, and rewarding for conceiving something unique and original. This is my raison d'être for picking up a pen, and the highest plane to which scholars can aspire."



Booklist, November 15, 1999, review of American Military Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present, p. 644; March 15, 2000, review of Warbirds: An Illustrated Guide to U.S. Military Aircraft, 1915-2000, p. 1405.

Library Journal, November 15, 1999, review of Warbirds, p. 61.

Reference & Users Services Quarterly, summer, 2000, Daniel K. Blewett, review of Warbirds, p. 419.