William G. McLoughlin

William Gerald McLoughlin (June 11, 1922 – December 28, 1992) was an historian and prominent member of the history department at Brown University from 1954 to 1992. His subject areas were the history of religion in the United States, revivalism, the Cherokee, missionaries to Native Americans, abolitionism, and Rhode Island.

Early life and education

William G. McLoughlin was born in Maplewood, New Jersey.[1] He earned his B.A. from Princeton University in 1947, graduating Phi Beta Kappa after having taken a three-year hiatus from his studies to serve as a first lieutenant in the field artillery in World War II.[2] He did graduate work in history, receiving his M.A. from Harvard in 1948 and his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard in 1953.

Academic career

McLoughlin started as an assistant professor at Brown. In 1963, he was promoted to a full professorship. In 1981, he was appointed the Annie McClelland and Willard Prescott Smith Professor of History and Religion. In 1992, McLoughlin was named the first Chancellor's Fellow at Brown, allowing him to continue teaching although he had earned emeritus status.

His many publications won him wide recognition, including the 1972 Frederic C. Melcher Prize for the best book on religion in America, for his New England Dissent (1971). McLoughlin was regarded as “one of the country’s most distinguished historians of American religion.”[3]

Other civic activities

McLoughlin opposed American involvement in the Vietnam War and was active in the civil rights movement. He was a former chair of the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union. A major religion case that McLoughlin and the Rhode Island ACLU took on in 1984 was ultimately heard by the U.S. Supreme Court (Lynch v. Donnelly).

For his work to advance civil rights, in 2004 McLoughlin was posthumously inducted into the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Hall of Fame in Providence, Rhode Island, along with Robert Bailey IV.[1]


(listed in chronological order)


  1. Daniels, Lee A. (January 6, 1993), "W. G. McLoughlin, Professor of History At Brown, Dies at 70", New York Times. Correction, July 25, 2005.
  2. "Memorials > William Gerald Mcloughlin Jr. '44", Princeton Alumni Weekly, December 8, 1993.
  3. Thomas, John L. (1993), "In Memoriam: William G. McLoughlin", American Quarterly, 45 (3): 426.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.