James H. Merrell, PhD

Professor Emeritus of History
Headshot of Jim Merrell

Jim Merrell, Lucy Maynard Salmon Professor of History Emeritus, taught Early American and Native History at Vassar from 1984 to 2023. Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, he earned degrees from Lawrence University (Wisconsin) and Oxford University before receiving his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. In addition to predoctoral (Newberry Library) and postdoctoral fellowships (Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture), his scholarly work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation—and by Vassar College. Besides publishing numerous articles or book chapters and editing or co-editing several books, he is the author of The Indians' New World: Catawbas and their Neighbors from European Contact Through the Era of Removal (1989; Frederick Jackson Turner Award and Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians; Bancroft Prize) and Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier (1999; Bancroft Prize; Pulitzer Prize Finalist). He has been elected a member of the Society of American Historians and the Massachusetts Historical Society, as well as a Fellow of the American Antiquarian Society. His retirement plans include exploring the encounter between Natives and newcomers in the Hudson Valley.