Keough School historian elected to the American Antiquarian Society

Patrick Griffin, the Madden-Hennebry Professor of History and Director of the Keough School’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, is one of 25 distinguished scholars, librarians, curators, writers, and artists elected this spring to the American Antiquarian Society.

The election is in recognition of the distinction he has received in the field of history—specifically, “contributions to the scholarship of American immigration and nationhood.”

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is a national research library of American history and culture through the year 1876. Founded in 1812 by Revolutionary War patriot and printer Isaiah Thomas, it is both a learned society and a major independent research library located in Worcester, Massachusetts. The AAS library today houses the largest collection of books, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, periodicals, music, and graphic arts material printed through 1876 in what is now the United States, as well as manuscripts and a substantial collection of secondary texts, bibliographies, and digital resources and reference works related to all aspects of American history and culture before the twentieth century. The organization was presented with the 2013 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House.

The AAS has just over 1000 members, including 14 presidents of the United States. Among the prizes won by members are more than 75 Pulitzer Prizes, scores of Bancroft Prizes, many Guggenheim fellowships, and a few McArthur awards.

Professor Griffin’s work explores the intersection of colonial American and early modern Irish and British history. His books include: The Townshend Moment: The Making of Empire and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century (Yale, 2017), America’s Revolution (Oxford, 2012), American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier (Hill & Wang, 2007), and The People with No Name: Ireland’s Ulster Scots, America’s Scots Irish, and the Creation of a British Atlantic World (Princeton, 2001).

Professor Griffin’s most recent work is Ireland and America: Empire, Revolution, and Sovereignty (University of Virginia Press, 2021), which he co-edited with Francis D. Cogliano, Professor of American History, University of Edinburgh.

He currently has a second book nearing publication: The Ties that Bind: On the Age of Revolution (Yale University Press).

Professor Griffin has won grants and fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies, the Huntington Library, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He is also an honorary professor of the University of Edinburgh.

This is the second major honor for Professor Griffin this year. In February, he was named the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford.

The prestigious fellowship, created in 1922, is awarded to a distinguished American historian who then spends a year teaching, researching, and leading seminars at Oxford’s Queen’s College and Rothermere American Institute. 

At Oxford during the 2021-2022 academic year, Professor Griffin will begin work on a book on the 18th and 19th-century working-class inhabitants of New York, especially migrants from Ireland, who helped transform New York from a seaport into the most important city in the world. He will also deliver lectures at Oxford and at several European universities.

Originally published at on June 24, 2021.

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