Stephan Thernstrom is the Winthrop Research Professor of History at Harvard University where he teaches American social history. He was born in Port Huron, Michigan and educated in the public schools of Port Huron and Battle Creek. He graduated with highest honors from Northwestern University in 1956, and was awarded the Ph.D. by Harvard in 1962. He held appointments as assistant professor at Harvard, associate professor at Brandeis University, and professor at UCLA before returning to Harvard as a professor in 1973. In 1978-1979 he was the Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University and Professorial Fellow at Trinity College.
Stephan Thernstrom is a recipient of the prestigious 2007 Bradley Prize for Outstanding Intellectual achievement. He has also been awarded fellowships from the John S. Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, and the John M. Olin Foundation, and research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mathematical Social Science Board, the American Philosophical Society, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation.
His most recent book, co-authored with Abigail Thernstrom, is No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning (Simon & Schuster, October 2003), was the winner of the 2007 Fordham Prize for Distinguished Scholarship. He is also the editor of the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, and the author of Poverty and Progress: Social Mobility in a Nineteenth-Century City; Poverty, Politics, and Planning in the New Boston; The Origins of ABCD; The Other Bostonians; Poverty and Progress in the American Metropolis, 1880-1970; and a two-volume survey, A History of the American People.
His books have been awarded the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Harvard University Press Faculty Prize, the Waldo G. Leland Prize of the American Historical Association, and the R. R. Hawkins Award of the Association of American Publishers. He also has written widely in periodicals for general audiences, including The New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, The Public Interest, Commentary, Dissent, Partisan Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.