The Niebuhr Legacy

Arthur Schlesinger

The College presented the Niebuhr Medal to distinguished historian and presidential adviser Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. at a May 23, 2006 ceremony in New York City. The Niebuhr Medal recognizes extraordinary service to humanity that reflects the values of Elmhurst graduates Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr, two of the 20th century’s most influential theologians.

One of the nation’s most distinguished historians, Schlesinger served as special assistant to two United States presidents, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He is the author of 16 books, including two winners of the Pulitzer Prize: The Age of Jackson and A Thousand Days, an intimate portrait of the Kennedy administration that The New York Times called “at once a masterly literary achievement and a work of major historical significance.” Schlesinger has received many honors, including the National Humanities Medal in 1998. He has also served on the faculty of the Department of History at Harvard University.

It was at Harvard that Schlesinger met Reinhold Niebuhr, who became his mentor and his friend. Following Niebuhr’s death in 1971, Schlesinger wrote of him, “He had more intellectual influence on me than anyone I have ever known."

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