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The legendary Samuel Eliot Morison (1887-1976) was a giant among 20th century historians—twice winning the Pulitzer Prize and receiving numerous other honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and sitting as the first Harmsworth professor of American History at Oxford. Morison, who wrote with a signature sweep and flair, is credited with practically inventing the study of maritime history and influencing a generation of historians through his beliefs and his dozens of books chronicling this nation's history.
At times outspoken and controversial, Morison sometimes clashed with other historians and writers on how history should be researched and written. Most famously, he sought to reconcile the often pedantic, dull style of academic research with his belief that history should reach a popular audience. He succeeded brilliantly in this effort to write carefully researched histories with a compelling narrative.
Morison was born in Boston, attended top private schools, and earned his degree from Harvard. He later taught at Harvard for almost four decades. As a child, Morison and his family spent many summers on Mount Desert Island. The experience created his love for the sea and the island itself, and his family still summers on MDI.
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