Richard Slator Dunn

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Historian; Educator; Academic research institution administrator; Learned society administrator
Humanities and Arts


Richard Slator Dunn was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1928. His father, William P. Dunn, was Professor of English of the University of Minnesota. Dunn graduated with B.A. from Harvard College in 1950, and the M.A. (1952) and Ph.D. (1955) in History from Princeton University. He started his teaching career in Princeton in 1954. After he completed his Ph.D. program, Dunn taught at the University of Michigan from 1955 to 1957. He joined the faculty of the History Department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1957 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1963 and full Professor in 1968. In 1972, Dunn was appointed Chairman of the Department of History, a position he held until 1977. From 1984 to 1996 he served as the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History. Dunn founded the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies the following year and served as the first director of the Center. In 1992, he was appointed editor of the Early American Studies series published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. From 2002 to 2008 he was Co-Executive Officer, with Mary Maples Dunn, of the American Philosophical Society.~Dunn has published many books and articles. The first book he published in 1962 was Puritans and Yankees: The Winthrop Dynasty of New England, 1630-1717. It was followed by The Age of Religious Wars, 1559-1689 (1970), Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713 (1972), a multi-volume work of The Papers of William Penn, edited with his wife Mary Maples Dunn and others (1981-1987), and The Journal of John Winthrop, 1630-1649 edited with Laetitia Yeandle (1996). In addition to his own publications, he has contributed chapters to about a dozen of books, among them Seventeenth-century America: Essays in Colonial History (1959), Anglo-American Political Relations, 1675-1775 (1970), Early Maryland in a Wider World (1982), The World of William Penn (1986), and Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas (1993). His latest book, A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia, will be published by Harvard University Press in October 2014.~Dunn is member of American Historical Association, American Antiquarian Society, Organization of American Historians, Massachusetts Historical Society, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Library Company of Philadelphia, and Institute of Early American History and Culture Associates. Among the numerous honors and awards he won throughout his career, Dunn was elected Guggenheim Fellow for 1966-1967, granted the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship in 1977, appointed Fellow of the Queen's College and the Harmsworth Professor of American History, Oxford University, for the year of 1987-1988, and honored by the University of Pennsylvania with the Lindback Teaching Award.

Last Updated