William M. Fowler

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William Morgan Fowler, Jr. (born 25 July 1944) is a professor of history at Northeastern University, Boston and an author. He served as Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society from 1998 through 2005.

Early life and education

Born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 9, 1945, the son of William Morgan, a U.S. Postal employee, and his wife Eleanor, he grew up in Wakefield Ma and attended Wakefield High School and Northeastern University, Boston, graduating magna cum laude in 1966. He went on to the University of Notre Dame, where he earned his M.A. in 1969 and his Ph.D. in 1971. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1970–84, reaching the grade of Captain. In August 1968, he married Marilyn Nicole Noble, an elementary school teacher, and together they had two children. He now lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and daughter.

Academic career

Fowler was appointed an assistant professor in 1971 at Northeastern University, promoted to associate professor in 1977, and full professor in 1980. In addition, he served as acting dean of the college of arts and sciences in 1977, vice provost, 1989–1991, and department chair in 1993-1997, before leaving to become the director of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He returned to Northeastern on 1 January 2006 after eight years at the society. When he announced that he would leave the President of the Society, Amalie M. Kass, honored him for the positive changes that he accomplished during his tenure. Kass stated, “Bill Fowler brought our Society into a leadership role in the cultural and intellectual life of Boston, the state, and even the nation […] Dr. Fowler has kept this mission at the forefront of his work and we intend to go forward in that spirit."[1]

Fowler also teaches at the Frank C. Munson Institute of American Maritime History at Mystic Seaport Museum and has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Naval War College, St. John's Preparatory School, and the Sea Education Association. He is a trustee of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Association, The Paul Revere Memorial Association, and the Old North Church Foundation. He is also a member of the Massachusetts State Archives Advisory Commission and an honorary member of the Boston Marine Society, as well as a consulting editor to The New England Quarterly. Currently Sits on Board of Trustees for Bay State College, located in Boston's Back Bay, at 122 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA.[2]

Honors and awards

  • Northeastern University Outstanding Alumnus Award, 1994.
  • Honorary degree L.H.D., Northeastern University, 2000.
  • Sits On Board of Trustees, & Special Committee Member For (Academic & Student Affairs) for Bay State College, 2010.[2]

Published works

  • William Ellery: A Rhode Island Politico and Lord of Admiralty (1973)
  • Rebels Under Sail: The Navy in the Revolution (1976)
  • The American Revolution: Changing Perspectives, edited by Wallace Coyle and William M. Fowler, Jr. (1979)
  • The Baron of Beacon Hill: A Biography of John Hancock (1980)
  • Jack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy, 1783-1815 (1984)
  • Under Two Flags: The Navy in the Civil War (1990)
  • Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan (1997)
  • America and The Sea: A Maritime History by Benjamin W. Labaree, William M. Fowler, Jr., John B. Hattendorf, Edward W. Sloan, Jeffrey J. Safford, and Andrew German, (1998)
  • America and The Sea: Treasures from the collection of Mystic Seaport (co-author) (2005)


  • Contemporary Authors
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