William H. Chafe

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William H. Chafe (1942-present) is the former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and former Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Duke University and is currently an Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History. Chafe is cofounder of the Duke-UNC Center for Research on Women, the Duke Center for the Study of Civil Rights and Race Relations, and the Duke Center for Documentary Studies. (1).


Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Chafe attended Harvard University and earned his bachelor's degree in History. Upon graduation, he began to teach at the Union Theological Seminary in New York and then Columbia Grammar School. In 1965 he entered the graduate program at Columbia where he would eventually earn his PhD in 1971. He had a brief teaching job at Vassar College before he started his career at Duke in 1971 (2).

Chafe has written several books and has been the recepient of the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and the Sidny Hillman Book Award (3).


The Rise and Fall of the American Century: The United States from 1890 to 2008 (2008).

The Unfinished Journey: American Since World War II (Oxford University Press, 2006).

Private Lives/Public Consequences: Personality and Politics in Modern America (Harvard University Press, 2005).

Never Stop Running (Princeton University Press, 1998).

The Paradox of Change: American Women in the 20th Century (Oxford University Press, 1991).

Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom (Oxford University Press, 1981).


(1) Duke University, "History-People," Duke Department of History, http://fds.duke.edu/db/aas/history/faculty/william.chafe (accessed April 17, 2009).

(2) Duke University, "William H. Chafe," Duke University Arts and Sciences: Deans, http://www.aas.duke.edu/admin/deans/faculty/chafe.html (accessed April 17, 2009).

(3) Organization of American Historians, "OAH Lecturer-William H. Chafe," OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program 2009, http://www.oah.org/activities/lectureship/2006/lecturer.php?id=80

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