William B. Pickett
Born (1940-03-12) March 12, 1940 (age 84)
Board member ofIndiana Association of Historians, Indiana Council for History Education
AwardsFulbright Fellowship (1989)
Academic background
Alma materCarleton College, Indiana University
ThesisHomer E. Capehart: The Making of a Hoosier Senator[1] (1974)
Academic work
Sub-disciplineU.S. political and military history, Indiana history, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Homer E. Capehart, history of the Internet
InstitutionsRose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Notable worksDwight David Eisenhower and American Power, Eisenhower Decides To Run: Presidential Politics and Cold War Strategy

William Beatty Pickett (born March 12, 1940) is an American historian and professor emeritus at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. He is known as an authority on President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Indiana Sen. Homer E. Capehart, and is the author of several well-regarded books on U.S. history including Dwight David Eisenhower and American Power[2] and Eisenhower Decides To Run: Presidential Politics and Cold War Strategy.[3][4][5]

Early life

Pickett was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He earned his bachelor's degree at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1962, and both a master's degree (in 1968) and doctorate (in 1974) at Indiana University.[6] He served as a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve from 1962 to 1966.[7]

Academic career

After postgraduate work at Indiana University in the late 1960s, Pickett was a professor of history at Rose-Hulman for 35 years. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan in 1989–90, lecturing on American history,[8] and taught American history on U.S. military bases in Korea as a visiting professor for the University of Maryland.[9] He was an educational consultant to the American University of Kyrgyzstan (now called American University of Central Asia) in 2002.[10] In 1992–93, he served as president of the Indiana Association of Historians.[11] In 2006, he co-founded the Web History Center, a hub for archiving and preserving early Internet history, with branches in Indiana at Rose-Hulman and at California's Computer History Museum.[12][13] Two of his lectures about Eisenhower were featured on C-SPAN's Book TV series in 2000[14] and 2002.[15] Since 2016, he has been a member of the historical advisory panel for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C.[16] Pickett retired from teaching in 2007 but continues to write.

Published works

Over the course of his career, Pickett produced a number of books, journal articles, reviews, and oral histories. Pickett wrote his doctoral thesis on Indiana Sen. Homer Capehart, and his 1990 book Homer E. Capehart: A Senator's Life was the first scholarly biography of the politician.[17] Homer E. Capehart won an Award of Merit from the Ohio Museums Association in 1990.[18] Pickett's work on Eisenhower included two full-length books. Reviewer Lawrence S. Conner called 1995's Dwight David Eisenhower and American Power a "concise and readable" work that helped to revise previous historians' "harsh assessments of Eisenhower."[19] Writing in Presidential Studies Quarterly, Herbert Parmet called the book a "gracefully written," more contemporary view of Eisenhower as a politician who "understood and moved with the rhythms of history."[20] Pickett's 2000 book Eisenhower Decides to Run was one of the first scholarly looks at the 1952 presidential campaign,[21] and focused particularly on Eisenhower's political reputation.[22] Writing for Michigan State University's H-Net forum, Steven Wagner called the book "required reading for Eisenhower specialists" that helped to overturn the older consensus that Eisenhower was only a passive player in his own political career, and made the case that long-simmering political ambitions led to his consciously seeking the presidency in order to block the ambitions of Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft.[23] Reviewer Thomas R. Maddux wrote that Pickett's book challenged the "standard view advanced by Stephen Ambrose and others" that Eisenhower was a reluctant candidate, positing instead that Eisenhower was cautious after witnessing the controversial political rise of his military rival Douglas MacArthur, and was a more skilled behind-the-scenes leader than generally acknowledged.[24]

Pickett also conducted several collections of oral interviews on Capehart[25] and the histories of Terre Haute and surrounding Vigo County[26] and Rose-Hulman.[27]

Selected publications

External videos
video icon Pickett discusses Eisenhower Decides to Run at the Eisenhower Presidential Library, October 26, 2000, C-SPAN
video icon Pickett speaks on the topic "Eisenhower as a Historical Figure" at Gettysburg College, October 26, 2002, C-SPAN


Journal articles and short works

Oral histories


  1. ^ Pickett, William B. (1974). Homer E. Capehart: The Making of a Hoosier Senator (Thesis). Indiana University. OCLC 2715420.
  2. ^ McMahon, Robert J. (June 1997). "Book Review: Dwight David Eisenhower and American Power by William B. Pickett and Eisenhower's New-Look National Security Policy, 1953–61 by Saki Dockrill". Journal of American History. 84 (1): 304–306. doi:10.2307/2952874. JSTOR 2952874.
  3. ^ Richards, David R. (2000-11-18). "Eisenhower's Decision To Run". Indianapolis Star.
  4. ^ Neal, Steve (2000-09-11). "Ike Didn't Have To Be Drafted". Chicago Sun-Times.
  5. ^ Osgood, Kenneth A. (September 2002). "Book Review: Eisenhower Decides to Run: Presidential Politics and Cold War Strategy by William B. Pickett and Eisenhower at Columbia by Travis Beal Jacobs". Journal of American History. 89 (2): 709–711. doi:10.2307/3092303. JSTOR 3092303.
  6. ^ William B. Pickett papers, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Indianapolis: Indiana State Library.
  7. ^ "Dr. William B. Pickett". Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on 6 April 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Directory of American Fulbright Scholars 1989-90" (PDF). Fulbright Scholar Grantee Directories. University of Arkansas Special Collections. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "Contributors". The SHAFR Newsletter. 22–24. Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations: 51. 1991.
  10. ^ Pickett, William B. (June 2002). "Liberal Education: Its Goals and Methods". Bulletin of the American University of Kyrgyzstan: 5–7. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "Presidents of the Indiana Association of Historians". Indiana Association of Historians. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  12. ^ "Avoiding a Digital 'Dark Age'". The Chronicle of Higher Education. May 21, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  13. ^ "William Pickett: Tech professor and web historian launch web-history center". historynewsnetwork.org. History News Network. January 2, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  14. ^ Pickett, William B. (October 26, 2000). "Eisenhower Decides to Run". Book TV. C-SPAN. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  15. ^ Pickett, William B. (October 26, 2002). "Eisenhower as a Historical Figure". Book TV. C-SPAN. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  16. ^ "Dispatches From The Eisenhower Memorial Commission" (PDF) (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Eisenhower Memorial Commission. October 23, 2017. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  17. ^ Schapsmeier, Edward L. (1991). "Homer E. Capehart: A Senator's Life, 1897-1979 by William B. Pickett (review)". The Annals of Iowa. 51: 102–104. doi:10.17077/0003-4827.9567.
  18. ^ "Rose-Hulman Professor's Book Wins Award". Rose Thorn Archive. 26 (22). April 12, 1991. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  19. ^ Conner, Lawrence S. (1996-02-24). "Assessing the Career of Eisenhower". Indianapolis Star. p. A11.
  20. ^ Parmet, Herbert S. (Summer 1995). "Book Review: William B. Pickett, Dwight David Eisenhower and American Power". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 25 (3): 576–577. JSTOR 27551474.
  21. ^ Reichard, Gary W. (2017). "American Politics at Mid-Century". In Pach, Chester J. (ed.). A Companion to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Wiley. p. 136. ISBN 9781119027331.
  22. ^ "Review: Eisenhower Decides to Run". Library Journal. September 1, 2000.
  23. ^ Wagner, Steven (May 2001). "Review of Pickett, William B., Eisenhower Decides to Run: Presidential Politics and Cold War Strategy". H-Pol, H-Net Reviews. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  24. ^ Maddux, Thomas R. (Spring 2002). "Book Review: Eisenhower Decides to Run: Presidential Politics and Cold War Strategy". Journal of Cold War Studies. 4 (2): 139–141. doi:10.1162/jcws.2002.4.2.139. S2CID 153698589. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  25. ^ Biography: Homer E. Capehart, 1969-1973. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Center for Documentary Research and Practice, Indiana University Center for History and Memory. ohrc015. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  26. ^ Vigo County Oral History Program. Terre Haute, Indiana: Collections: Politics and Government, Vigo County Public Library. 820128A. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  27. ^ Pickett, William B. (1997–1998). "Oral History Interviews". Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Archives & Special Collections. Retrieved May 29, 2018.