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UCD School of History & Archives

Scoil na Staire agus na Cartlannaíochta UCD

The Mary Ball Washington Professorship of American History

The professorship was founded through the efforts of John D.J. Moore, Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland, 1969-1975, and established on August 7 1975 by Statute LXXXVI of the University, with the support of a gift from the Alfred I. Du Pont Foundation.

Since its foundation, the Professorship has been held by some extremely distinguished historians, and it has been regarded as a crucial benefit for those teaching history at UCD, as providing a point of contact with the historical profession in the United States and as helping to interest generations of Irish students in the history of the United States of America. For a number of years the historian appointed was someone who specialised in the history of the American Presidency, or the history of American foreign policy, but now the Chair is being advertised much more widely, as any historian of the USA in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. The School of History and Archives are very grateful to the Fulbright Commission, who have done much to facilitate and support the holders of the chair. 

 The Current Mary Ball Washington Professor

Brian Schoen is an Associate Professor of History at Ohio University and a Fulbright Scholar at University College Dublin for the 2013-2014 academic year.  He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia and subsequent to joining Ohio University’s history department in 2006 taught at Georgetown University and California State University, Sacramento.  His first book, The Fragile Fabric of Union: Cotton, Federal Politics, and the Global Origins of the Civil War (Hopkins, 2009), examined how the international political economy of cotton and slavery shaped Lower South politics and first-wave secession. It was awarded the 2010 Southern Historical Association’s Bennett H. Wall book prize. He has since authored several chapters and articles on southern, economic, and diplomatic history as well as coedited (with Frank Towers and Diane Barnes) a collection, The Old South’s Modern World’s: Slavery, Region, and Nation in the Age of Progress (Oxford, 2011). Another co-edited collection, Between Sovereignty and Anarchy: The Politics of Violence in the American Revolutionary Era is due out next year with University of Virginia Press. His current book project brings together foreign and domestic policy and situates the secession winter and wartime summer (1860-1861) within an apparent epidemic of global sovereignty crises. It has been supported by funding from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities and Ohio University’s Baker Fund.  


Holders of the Chair


  • 1976-77  Donald McCoy
  • 1977-78  Lloyd Ambrosius
  • 1978-79  Richard M. Reinitz
  • 1979-80  Peter Karsten
  • 1981-82  Stephen Ambrose
  • 1982-83  George McGovern
  • 1984-85  Francis Carroll
  • 1985-86  Kim McQuaid
  • 1986-87  Glenda Riley
  • 1987-88  Lawrence Gelfand
  • 1988-89  Merrill D. Peterson
  • 1989-90  Peter S. Onuf
  • 1990-91  Stephen G. Rabe
  • 1991-92  Walter Nugent
  • 1992-93  Joan Hoff
  • 1993-94  Thomas McCormick
  • 1994-95  Ingrid Winther Scobie
  • 1995-96  Theodore Wilson 
  • 1996-97  Elaine Tyler May
  • 1997-98  Kevin Boyle
  • 1998-99  Harvard Sitcoff
  • 1999-00  Robert McMahon
  • 2000-01  Mark Lytle
  • 2001-02  Terry Anderson
  • 2003-04  Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
  • 2004-05  Mark Lytle
  • 2005-06  Mitchell Lerner
  • 2006-07  Kenneth A. Osgood
  • 2007-08  Robert K. Brigham
  • 2008-09  V. Scott Kaufman and Patrick McGilligan
  • 2009-10  Adam Sheingate
  • 2011-12  Doug Egerton
  • 2012-13  Matthew Sutton
  • 2013-14 Robert Strong
  • 2014-15 Brian Schoen


Mary Ball was born in Lively, Virginia, in 1708; she died in 1789, less than four months after her son George was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America.

Professor Brian Schoen