A Word About Paul C. Nagel
A Missourian by birth, Paul Nagel arrived in Minneapolis at the end
of World War II to study at the University of Minnesota. After receiving
the Ph.D. in history and marrying a University librarian, he was
variously a professor of history, a college dean (College of Arts
and Sciences in the University of Kentucky), and a university vice
president (Vice President for Academic Affairs in the University
of Missouri System of four campuses).. For five years he was also
Director of the Virginia Historical Society, primarily a research
library in Richmond. As a scholar he wrote about the ideology of American
nationalism in essays and in two books, One Nation Indivisible (1964)
Sacred Trust (1971), both published by Oxford University Press.
In 1980, Nagel decided to leave academic life and devote himself entirely
to writing for the general reader. Among the results have been three
books about the John Adams family, Descent from Glory (Oxford 1983,
Harvard University Press 1999), The Adams Women (Oxford 1987, Harvard
1999), and John
Quincy Adams (A. A. Knopf 1997, Harvard 1999). He also wrote about
Richard Henry Lee and Robert E. Lee and their kinsmen in The Lees of Virginia (Oxford,
1990), which Oxford University Press will issue in a new edition in 2006,
celebrating the bicentennial of General Lee’s birth. In October
2006, Doubleday will publish I Wish I’d Been There, a collection
of essays to which Nagel is a contributor.
Nagel has written three books dealing with aspects of his native state---Missouri (W.
W. Norton 1977, University of Kansas Press 1988); The German Migration
to Missouri: My Family’s Story (Kansas City Star Books, 2002);
and a biography of the state’s renowned artist, George Caleb Bingham: Missouri’s
Famed Artist and Forgotten Politician (University of Missouri Press,
2005). His publications have received many awards and prizes.
Nagel has been president of the Southern Historical Association and is
a senior trustee of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He is a fellow
of the Society of American Historians, a fellow of the Pilgrim Society,
and a contributing editor for American Heritage magazine. He has
been designated a Cultural Laureate of Virginia.
In 1992, he and his wife, Joan Peterson Nagel, a genealogist, returned
to Minneapolis where they continue to live and work near the University
of Minnesota library. They left three sons scattered around the country,
as well as one granddaughter and numerous grandcats.