Gillespie, Angus Kress 1942–

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Gillespie, Angus Kress 1942–

PERSONAL: Born April 25, 1942, in Bryn Mawr, PA; son of Harold Edwin (a physician, naval officer, and public health official) and Mary Miller (a teacher) Gillespie; married Sherry Victor, June 11, 1966 (divorced December 23, 1977); married Rowena Cosico (an accountant), March 30, 1986; children: Neil Craig, Tristan Wade. Ethnicity: "Scottish-American." Education: Yale University, B.A., 1964; University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., 1975. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Protestant Episcopal.

ADDRESSES: Home—East Brunswick, NJ. Office—Department of American Studies, Rutgers University, 131 George St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1414. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, instructor, 1973–75, assistant professor, 1975–81, associate professor, 1981–2000, professor of American studies, 2000–. University of the Philippines, Fulbright lecturer, 1985–86; Agder University College, Kristiansand, Norway, Fulbright lecturer, 2002–03. New Jersey Folk Festival, executive director; New Jersey Folklife, publisher; consultant to Liberty Village Foundation, Global Village Media Productions, and New Jersey Public Television; guest on many television and radio programs. Millstone Valley Fire Department, volunteer firefighter, president, 1987.

MEMBER: American Studies Association, American Folklore Society, Middle Atlantic Folklore Association (president, 1984–85).

AWARDS, HONORS: Award of recognition, New Jersey Historical Commission, 1980; grant from National Endowment for the Humanities, 1981; Fulbright fellow in the Philippines and fellow of Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, 1985–86; travel grants for Haiti, Partners of the Americas, 1990, 1993; Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service, Rutgers University, 1991; travel grant for Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Information Agency, 1997; lifetime achievement award, New Jersey Folk Festival, 1999; numerous grants from New Jersey Council for the Humanities and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.


Folklorist of the Coal Fields: The Life and Work of George Korson, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA), 1980.

(Editor, with Jay Mechling, and contributor) American Wildlife in Symbol and Story, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1987.

(With Michael Aaron Rockland) Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1988.

(With David Wilson) Rooted in American Soil: Food-lore of Popular Fruits and Vegetables, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1999.

Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Center, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1999.

Contributor to books, including Natural and Cultural Resources of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, edited by John Sinton, Center for Environmental Research (Pomona, NJ), 1979; Foodways in the United States: The Matrix of Regional and Ethnic Identity, edited by Linda Brown and Kay Mussell, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1984; and Time Out of Time, edited by Alessandro Falassi, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1987; also contributor to encyclopedias. Contributor of articles and reviews to scholarly journals and newspapers.

Gillespie's book on the World Trade Center was published in foreign languages, including Polish and Japanese.

SIDELIGHTS: Angus Kress Gillespie told CA: "In my scholarly career, I have been blessed with research projects that have considerable staying power. Immediately after I finished my dissertation, I began to revise the manuscript for publication, In 1980 I had the good fortune to have my book published as Folklorist of the Coal Fields: The Life and Work of George Korson. This monograph was a biography of the pioneer collector of the songs and stories of the coal miners. Although never a best-seller, the book was recognized as a contribution to the history of industrial folklore and was often cited by subsequent scholars in the field. Nonetheless, imagine my surprise when I was invited to speak on Korson's work at the Library of Congress in 2004, more than twenty years after the original publication of my book.

"In 1989 Michael Aaron Rockland and I published Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike. The book got off to a good start, thanks in part to a review published in the New York Times Book Review. Since that time the book has never gone out of print. It has been listed by both the state library of New Jersey and New Jersey Monthly magazine as one of the ten best books ever written about the state. In 2005 the book was the basis for a New Jersey network television special, with a focus on the art and artists inspired by the New Jersey Turnpike. Along the way, the program illustrates how a postwar, no-frills super-highway became a cultural touchstone.

"In 1999 my book Twin Towers: The Life of New York City's World Trade Center was published with a small press run and little fanfare. Sales throughout the year 2000 and most of 2001 were sluggish. Suddenly, after the events of September 11, 2001, the book catapulted into the status of a best-seller. In a short time it was on the hardback nonfiction best-seller lists for, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly. In the ensuing weeks I had numerous radio and television appearances, including one on Larry King Live. Within a year's time, the book had been translated into foreign languages, a paperback edition, and a large-print edition.

"I anticipate an increased concentration on research and writing for the next decade. I hope to keep writing readable, accessible, and engaging books about large-scale civil engineering projects."



New York Times Book Review, November 19, 1989, Edward Allen, review of Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike, p. 14.


Angus Kress Gillespie Home Page,∼angusgi/index.html (November 4, 2006).

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Gillespie, Angus Kress 1942–

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