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Boorstin, Daniel Joseph

Born: 1914 AD
Died: 2004 AD, at 89 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Historian


1914 - He was born on the 1st of October in Atlanta.

1934 - Boorstin majored in English history and literature at Harvard University.

1936-1937 -  He obtained a Rhodes scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he took first-class degrees in history and civil law.

1940 - Boorstin was admitted to the bar at the Inner Temple in London before returning to the U.S., where he taught history at Harvard and Radcliffe College while he earned his law degree at Yale University.

1942 - He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar and practiced law while teaching history at Swarthmore College.

1944 - Boorstin joined the history faculty at the University of Chicago.

1953 - He presented the House Un-American Activities Committee with the names of other communists.

1960 - He became increasingly conservative and was a severe critic of the radicals.

1969 - He became director of the National Museum of History and Technology at the Smithsonian Institution, now known as the American History Museum.

1975 - Boorstin was appointed librarian of Congress in this post he attempted to make the institution more accessible to the public by ordering the large bronze doors to be kept open, installing a picnic area on the terrace, and organizing concerts and cultural events.

1983-1988 - He served on the Encyclopædia Britannica board of editors.


Page last updated: 5:34am, 20th Aug '07

  • "Our American past always speaks to us with two voices: the voice of the past, and the voice of the present. We are always asking two quite different questions. Historians reading the words of John Winthrop usually ask, What did they mean to him? Citizens ask, What do they mean to us? Historians are trained to seek the original meaning; all of us want to know the present meaning."
  • "The American experience stirred mankind from discovery to exploration, from the cautious quest for what they knew (or what they thought they knew) was out there, to an enthusiastic reaching to the unknown."
  • "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge."
  • "A best seller was a book which somehow sold well simply because it was selling well."
  • "The courage to imagine the otherwise is our greatest resource, adding color and suspense to all our life."