A Word About Paul C. Nagel

A Missourian by birth, Paul Nagel arrived in Minneapolis at the end of World War II to study at the University of Minnesota. After receiving the Ph.D. in history and marrying a University librarian, he was variously a professor of history, a college dean (College of Arts and Sciences in the University of Kentucky), and a university vice president (Vice President for Academic Affairs in the University of Missouri System of four campuses).. For five years he was also Director of the Virginia Historical Society, primarily a research library in Richmond. As a scholar he wrote about the ideology of American nationalism in essays and in two books, One Nation Indivisible (1964) and This Sacred Trust (1971), both published by Oxford University Press.

 In 1980, Nagel decided to leave academic life and devote himself entirely to writing for the general reader. Among the results have been three books about the John Adams family, Descent from Glory (Oxford 1983, Harvard University Press 1999), The Adams Women (Oxford 1987, Harvard 1999), and John Quincy Adams (A. A. Knopf 1997, Harvard 1999). He also wrote about Richard Henry Lee and Robert E. Lee and their kinsmen in The Lees of Virginia (Oxford, 1990), which Oxford University Press will issue in a new edition in 2006, celebrating the bicentennial of General Lee’s birth. In October 2006, Doubleday will publish I Wish I’d Been There, a collection of essays to which Nagel is a contributor.
Nagel has written three books dealing with aspects of his native state---Missouri (W. W. Norton 1977, University of Kansas Press 1988); The German Migration to Missouri: My Family’s Story (Kansas City Star Books, 2002); and a biography of the state’s renowned artist, George Caleb Bingham: Missouri’s Famed Artist and Forgotten Politician (University of Missouri Press, 2005). His publications have received many awards and prizes.

Nagel has been president of the Southern Historical Association and is a senior trustee of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He is a fellow of the Society of American Historians, a fellow of the Pilgrim Society, and a contributing editor for American Heritage magazine. He has been designated a Cultural Laureate of Virginia.

In 1992, he and his wife, Joan Peterson Nagel, a genealogist, returned to Minneapolis where they continue to live and work near the University of Minnesota library. They left three sons scattered around the country, as well as one granddaughter and numerous grandcats.