MHS for the Media

David McCullough to Receive John F. Kennedy Medal

The MHS is pleased to present its highest award to award-winning author and historian David McCullough at a celebratory event at the Society on 7 May, 2014.

Kennedy MedalOn 7 May, the Society will present the John F. Kennedy Medal to MHS Fellow, Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning historian David McCullough. Awarded to persons who have rendered distinguished service to the cause of history, it is the highest award given by the Society. Shortly after President Kennedy’s death, the MHS received several gifts designated to perpetuate his memory as an active member of the Society and a great friend of historical scholarship. A medal was created in his name, and eminent artist and MHS Fellow Rudolph Ruzicka was commissioned to design it. The following historians have received the Kennedy Medal: Samuel Eliot Morison (1967), Dumas Malone (1972), Thomas Boylston Adams (1976), Oscar Handlin (1991), Edmund S. Morgan (2002), Alfred DuPont Chandler, Jr. (2003), Bernard Bailyn (2004), John Hope Franklin (2005), Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (2006), Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (2009), and Gordon S. Wood (2012).

MHS President Dennis Fiori remarked, "the Kennedy Medal was created to honor those who have rendered distinguished service to the cause of history. As an award-winning historian, popular author, and a great champion of history education, David McCullough has dedicated his career to the cause of history. It gives us great pleasure to bestow this award upon such a great friend to the Society and to add his name to the list of prominent recipients."

David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a "master of the art of narrative history," "a matchless writer." He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize and twice winner of the National Book Award, and, he has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. 

Mr. McCullough’s most recent book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, the number one New York Times best seller, has been called "dazzling," "an epic of ideas . . . history to be savored." His previous work, 1776, has been deemed "a classic," while John Adams remains one of the most praised and widely read American biographies of all time. Mr. McCullough’s other books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, Brave Companions, and Truman. His work has been translated and published in 15 countries around the world, and, in all, more than 10,000,000 copies are in print. 

A gifted speaker, Mr. McCullough has lectured in all parts of the country and abroad, including at the White House. He is also one of the few private citizens to speak before a joint session of Congress. He is presently working on a biography of the Wright brothers.