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Edwin Bearss: 2017 Founder's Literature Award Recipient.
Honored at the 2017 Liberty Gala with a Founder's Literature Award, historian and WWII veteran Edwin Bearss discusses his service to his country through the preservation of military history with 2015 Pritzker Literature Award recipient David Hackett Fischer.
Edwin Cole Bearss is a WWII veteran, author, and renowned authority on the American Civil War. He is 50 plus year veteran of military and government service. He has published 19 books and contributed to numerous articles about the Civil War and WWII; including Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War with James McPherson and Hardluck Ironclad: The Sinking and Salvage of the Cairo. During his career, he has devoted much of his attention to battlefield preservation and interpretation.
Bearss joined the United States Marine Corps in 1942 and served in the Pacific Theater in WWII with the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion and 1st Marine Division in the invasion of Guadalcanal and New Britain.
He then attended Georgetown University where he received a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a M.A. in history from Indiana University. Bearss began his career with the National Park Service in Vicksburg, Mississippi as Park Historian. His research there lead him and two friends to the long lost resting place of the Union gunboat Cairo and worked with the Department of the Interior to have it raised from the Yazoo River. Bearss would go on to serve a chief historian of the National Park Service and became widely known for his interpretative tours of Civil War battle sites. For his contributions to the National Park Services, Bearss was awarded the unique title of Chief Historian Emeritus.
He has received a number of awards in the fields of history and preservation; including, the Harry S. Truman Award for Meritorious Service in the field of Civil War History and Department of the Interior Distinguished Service Award, among many others. Bearss was a featured commentator in the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War.
DAVID HACKETT FISCHER was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where his father was superintendent of schools. A graduate of Princeton University (A.B., 1958) and the Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D., 1962), Fischer is University Professor and Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he has served on the faculty for more than 50 years. A recipient of numerous teaching awards over his long and distinguished career—including the 1990 Carnegie Prize as Massachusetts Professor of the Year and the Louis Dembitz Brandeis Prize for Excellence in Teaching—Fischer has held visiting professorships at Harvard University, The University of Oxford, the University of Washington, and several institutions in New Zealand.