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Herbert Baxter Adams Professorship in History

Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Established in 1982 by the University

HerbertBaxterAdamsThe university’s first professor of history, HERBERT BAXTER ADAMS came to Hopkins during its first year of operation in 1876 as a teaching fellow and went on to chair the History and Political Science Department. A foremost scholar of American history, he was a leader in the creation of the American Historical Association. Dr. Adams, who was known to quietly lend money to students in need, believed that the main principle of historical training was “to encourage independent thought and research.” Among his students were Frederick Jackson Turner, A&S 1890 (PhD), who went on to become a prominent historian–the first to assert the importance of the frontier in forming the American character–and Woodrow Wilson, A&S 1886 (PhD), who became the 28th president of the United States. Dr. Adams died in 1901.


Held by Nathan Connolly

ConnollyNathanNATHAN CONNOLLY writes about the interplay between racism, capitalism, politics, and the built environment in the twentieth century.  His work pays special attention to people’s overlapping understandings of property rights and civil rights in the United States and the wider Americas.

His first book, A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida, received, among other awards, the 2015 Liberty Legacy Foundation Book Award from the Organization of American Historians and the 2014 Kenneth T. Jackson Book Award from the Urban History Association. The book resuscitates older discussions of racism’s profitability by treating Jim Crow segregation in Greater Miami as a variation on the colonial and postcolonial practices afflicting tropical populations around the world. A World More Concrete also highlights never-before-seen conflicts between tenants, urban landlords, homeowners, politicians, and property managers over how best to profit from Native Americans, Caribbean migrants, working-class whites, and the black poor.

He is advancing, at present, two new book-length projects.  The first is Four Daughters: An America Story. This collective biography covers three generations of a single family, following the lives of four women of color whose forbearers migrated from the Caribbean to the United States by way of Britain between the 1930s and 1990s. A genuinely Atlantic history, Four Daughters explores how immigrants of color and their children defined success in America during and after second-wave feminism, the civil rights movement, “right to work” politics, and the War on Drugs. His other book project expands on the intimate scale of Four Daughters to assess and synthesize broader trends, patterns, and processes. Black Capitalism: The “Negro Problem” and the American Economy offers the first sweeping account of how black economic success shaped the way Americans and immigrants understood the possibilities offered by capitalism in the United States.  Apart from publishing in scholarly venues, Professor Connolly contributes frequently to public debates, including commentary for the New York Times and on various radio and television news outlets.