Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989) was an American historian and author. She won the Pulitzer Prize twice, for The Guns of August, a best-selling history of the prelude to and the first month of World War I, and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, a biography of General Joseph Stilwell. Tuchman favored a literary approach to the writing of history, providing eloquent explanatory narratives rather than concentration upon discovery and publication of fresh archival sources. In 1978, Tuchman was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She became the first female president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1979. She won a U.S. National Book Award in History for the first paperback edition of A Distant Mirror in 1980. Also in 1980 the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Tuchman for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. Tuchman's lecture was entitled "Mankind's Better Moments". Tuchman was a trustee of Radcliffe College and a lecturer at Harvard, the University of California, and the Naval War College. She died in 1989 following a stroke, at 77.
Portrait courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society