Anthony Grafton
Anthony Grafton (cropped).JPG
Grafton lecturing at the Gotha Research Center in 2010
Anthony Thomas Grafton

(1950-05-21) May 21, 1950 (age 72)
Louise Erlich
(m. 1972)
AwardsBalzan Prize (2002)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
Academic work
Doctoral students
Main interestsHistory of books

Anthony Thomas Grafton (born May 21, 1950) is an American historian of early modern Europe and the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University, where he is also the Director the Program in European Cultural Studies.[2][3] He is also a corresponding fellow of the British Academy and a recipient of the Balzan Prize. From January 2011 to January 2012, he served as the President of the American Historical Association.[4]

Early life and education

Grafton was born on May 21, 1950, in New Haven, Connecticut. He was educated at Phillips Academy (Andover).

He attended the University of Chicago, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1971 and a Master of Arts degree in 1972. He made Phi Beta Kappa in 1970, with honors in history and in the college. After studying at University College, London, under ancient historian Arnaldo Momigliano, from 1973 to 1974, he earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in history from the University of Chicago in 1975. He still retains links with the University of London's Warburg Institute.[5]

Grafton married Louise Erlich in 1972, and was married to her until her death in 2019. They had two children.[6]


After a brief period teaching at Cornell's history department, he was appointed to a position at Princeton University in 1975, where he has subsequently remained. Since January 2007, he has been a co-editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas.


Anthony Grafton is noted for his studies of the classical tradition from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century, and in the history of historical scholarship. His many books include a study of the scholarship and chronology of Renaissance scholar Joseph Scaliger (2 vols, 1983–1993), and, more recently, studies of Girolamo Cardano as an astrologer (1999) and Leon Battista Alberti (2000). In 1996, he delivered the Triennial E. A. Lowe Lectures at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, speaking on Ancient History in Early Modern Europe.[7] Together with Lisa Jardine, he also co-wrote a revisionist account of the significance of Renaissance education (From Humanism to the Humanities, 1986) and on the marginalia of Gabriel Harvey.[8]

He also penned several essay collections, including Defenders of the Text (1991), which deals with the relations between scholarship and science in the early modern period, and, most recently, Worlds Made by Words. His most original and accessible book is The Footnote: A Curious History (1997; published in German as Die Tragischen Ursprünge der deutschen Fußnote), a case study of how the marginal footnote developed as a central and powerful tool in the hands of historians.

He also writes on a wide variety of topics for The New Republic, The American Scholar, and The New York Review of Books. He owns a bookwheel which he keeps at hand in his home.


Selected publications





  1. ^ "Anthony Grafton Biography | AHA".
  2. ^ "Anthony Grafton | Department of History". Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  3. ^ "Anthony T. Grafton, Director — European Cultural Studies". Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  4. ^ "History under Attack | Perspectives on History | AHA".
  5. ^ "Anthony Grafton". The Department of History. The Trustees of Princeton University. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  6. ^ "Obituary | Louise Erlich Grafton of Princeton, New Jersey".
  7. ^ "Lectures". Gazette. Oxford University. October 5, 1995. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  8. ^ Jardine, Lisa; Grafton, Anthony (1990). ""Studied for Action": How Gabriel Harvey Read His Livy". Past & Present. 129: 30–78. doi:10.1093/past/129.1.30.
  9. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved March 21, 2022.
  10. ^ "Anthony Grafton". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  11. ^ "Professor Anthony Grafton". The British Academy. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  12. ^ "Institute for History". Leiden University.
  13. ^ "Honorary degrees awarded at Encaenia | University of Oxford". Retrieved July 27, 2020.
Academic offices Preceded by E. A. Lowe Lecturer 1996 Succeeded byMichael Reeve Preceded byPage DuBois Sigmund H. Danziger Jr. MemorialLecturer in the Humanities 2010–2011 Succeeded byC. Brian Rose Professional and academic associations Preceded byBarbara D. Metcalf President of the American Historical Association 2011 Succeeded byWilliam Cronon Awards Preceded byJames S. Ackerman Balzan Prize 2002 With: Walter Jakob Gehring, Xavier Le Pichon,and Dominique Schnapper Succeeded byReinhard Genzel Preceded byJean-Pierre Changeux Succeeded byEric Hobsbawm Preceded byMarc Fumaroli Succeeded byWen-Hsiung Li Preceded byClaude Lorius Succeeded bySerge Moscovici