Anthony Grafton

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] From 2006 to 2020, Grafton was co-executive editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas.

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

Early life and educationEdit

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. In 2006, he became co-editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas, together with Warren Breckman, Martin Burke, and Ann Moyer.


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 publicationsEdit


  • Grafton, Anthony. "The History of Ideas: Precept and Practice, 1950–2000 and Beyond". Journal of the History of Ideas 67#1 (2006): 1–32. online


  • Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, Oxford-Warburg Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983–1993).
  • with Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities. Education and the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe (London: Duckworth, 1986). ISBN 978-0-7156-2100-4
  • Forgers and Critics. Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).
  • Defenders of the Text: The Traditions of Scholarship in the Age of Science, 1450–1800 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1991).
  • New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1995).
  • Commerce with the Classics: Ancient Books and Renaissance Readers (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997).
  • The Footnote: A Curious History (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1997).
  • Cardano's Cosmos : The Worlds and Works of a Renaissance Astrologer (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999).
  • Leon Battista Alberti: Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000).
  • Bring Out Your Dead: The Past as Revelation (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2001).
  • What Was History?: The Art of History in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  • with Megan Hale Williams, Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2006).
  • Codex in Crisis (New York: The Crumpled Press, 2008). Video: Anthony Grafton: Codex in Crisis on YouTube, Authors@Google, February 12, 2009.
  • with Brian A. Curran, Pamela O. Long, and Benjamin Weiss, Obelisk: A History (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Burndy Library and MIT Press, 2009).
  • Worlds Made by Words (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2009). Review by Véronique Krings, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.09.32
  • (with Joanna Weinberg), "I Have Always Loved the Holy Tongue": Isaac Casaubon, The Jews, and a Forgotten Chapter in Renaissance Scholarship (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2011).
  • Inky Fingers: The Making of Books in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2020).
  • with Maren Elisabeth Schwab, The Art of Discovery: Digging into the Past in Renaissance Europe (Princeton University Press, 2022).



  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.

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by
E. A. Lowe Lecturer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Sigmund H. Danziger Jr. Memorial
Lecturer in the Humanities

Succeeded by
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by President of the American Historical Association
Succeeded by
Preceded by Balzan Prize
With: Walter Jakob Gehring, Xavier Le Pichon,
and Dominique Schnapper
Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by
Preceded by Succeeded by