List of Books by Joseph J. Ellis. See all books authored by Joseph J. Ellis

About Joseph J. Ellis

Joseph John-Michael Ellis III was born July 18, 1943. He is an American historian whose work focuses on the lives and times of the founders of the United States of America. American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson won a National Book Award and Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for History. Both these books were bestsellers.

He received his A.B. from the College of William and Mary, where he was initiated into Theta Delta Chi. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1969, where he wrote his dissertation on Samuel Johnson. At William and Mary, Ellis was in ROTC. He entered the United States Army in August 1969 and spent three years teaching history at the United States Military Academy at West Point before being discharged a captain in 1972.[6] Ellis later joined the faculty at Mount Holyoke College. In 1979 he was made full professor and later became the Ford Foundation Professor of History. He has also taught at Williams College and in the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts. His scholarly work has concentrated on the Founding Fathers of the United States, including biographies of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, the Revolution and the early Federalist years.

Ellis served as dean of faculty at Mount Holyoke (1980–1990); following that, he was named by the trustees to the endowed Ford Foundation Chair in history.[7] For part of 1984, he also served as Acting President while President Elizabeth Topham Kennan was on leave. Ellis was suspended without pay (due to falsely telling his students that he had fought in Vietnam) from his endowed chair in 2001; he was reappointed to the chair in 2005. Ellis retired from Mount Holyoke in 2012.

Ellis currently lives in Western Massachusetts and Vermont with his wife Ellen Wilkins Ellis, and is the father of three adult sons.