Edward G. Lengel

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Edward G. Lengel
Born (1968-08-09) August 9, 1968 (age 50)
Genre military history
Notable works General George Washington: A Military Life
Notable awards a co-recipient of the National Humanities Medal (for his work on the George Washington Papers project)

Edward "Ed" G. Lengel (born August 9, 1968) is an American author and military historian. He is the 2018 Revolutionary in Residence for Colonial Williamsburg.[1] His previously published books focus on George Washington’s life and legacy, and World War I.

He is a co-recipient of the National Humanities Medal (for his work on the George Washington Papers project), and his books have been honored with the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Book Award, the Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr. prize, and other awards. He is the author of General George Washington: A Military Life,[2] which was a finalist for the 2006 George Washington Book Prize, and his 2018 release Never in Finer Company: The Men of the Great War’s Lost Battalion.[3]

Personal Background

Edward G. Lengel was born on August 9, 1968 in Washington, D.C. His father Alan was an elementary school teacher; his mother Shelbia (née: Looper) worked for the Department of Health and Human Services. Lengel has one sibling, Eric Lengel.

Lengel received a B.A. in history in 1991 from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. In 1993, he completed an M.A. in history with the University of Virginia, going on to acquire a Ph.D. from the same university in modern European history in 1998. The title of his dissertation was: A 'Perverse and Ill-Fated People': British Perceptions of the Irish, 1840-1860.

Lengel describes his work as, “a storyteller, seeking to unfold history’s human core by walking through ancient lands, sites and battlefields in my own hiking boots.”[4] Consequently, Lengel conducts and participates in hiking tours, including leading independent tours, and providing annual conference tours with America’s History, LLC.[5]

Lengel is engaged to Caitlin Conley, a research historian and cellist originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Lengel has two children from a previous marriage.

Professional Background

While working on his B.A., Lengel worked at the George Mason University Law Library, 1990-1991. Lengel began his professional career at the University of Virginia. From his beginnings as a research assistant in the University of Virginia Library, he rose to become an Assistant Professor and Assistant Editor in 1997 on the George Washington Papers Project.[6]

From 2010–2016 he was Professor and Director of the project that he renamed the Washington Papers Project.[7] During Lengel’s tenure, he oversaw the creation of the Barbados Diary, Martha Washington Papers and Washington Family Papers projects,[8][9][10] and was the co-editor and then editor of The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, volumes 3–4, 11, 13, 15, 18, and 20.[11]

In 2016 Lengel left academia and relocated from Charlottesville, VA to Washington, D.C. to take on the role of Chief Historian for the White House Historical Association. The David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History is the Association’s institute for White House research and education.[12]

In 2018, Colonial Williamsburg announced that Lengel would be their Revolutionary in Residence whereby Lengel will author the historical text of a new edition of “Colonial Williamsburg: The Official Guide.”[1] The position allowed Lengel to become an independent historian and full-time author.

Lengel has occupied other advisory and board positions including:

  • Humanities Advisor, World War I and America, a NEH-funded educational project of the Library of America (wwiamerica.org)
  • Advisory Board, United States World War One Centennial Commission.
  • Trustee, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Foundation, Staunton, VA, July 2011-July 2013.
  • Service as chair of Library and Archives Committee, and member of Education Committee.
  • Citizen Advisory Council, Virginia Commission on the Centennial of Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency, July 2011 – 2012
  • Board of Directors, World War I Memorial Project, July 2011 – Present[13]

Honors & Awards

Lengel’s honors include the National Humanities Medal, received for his work with the Washington Papers Project. He secured the Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr. book prize, and the Rawlings Prize, and he has been recognized by the Army Historical Foundation and the U.S. Military History Group.

  • Outstanding Book Award, Army Historical Foundation for Thunder and Flames, 2015
  • Master Corporal Jan Stanislaw Jakobczak Memorial Book Award, U.S. Military History Group for Thunder and Flames, 2015[14]
  • Outstanding Professor Award, University of Virginia Inter-Sorority Council, 2015
  • George Washington Masonic Memorial Award, for scholarship on George Washington, 2014.
  • Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr., book prize for To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918; The Western Front Association, 2008.
  • National Humanities Medal (with Washington Papers Project), 2005
  • General and Mrs. Matthew B. Ridgway Military History Research Grant, U.S. Army Military History Institute, 2003.
  • Rawlings Prize (Albemarle County Historical Society), 1999 and 2001. Governor's Fellowship (University of Virginia), 1995-1996.
  • Dumas Malone Traveling Fellowship (University of Virginia), 1994-1995.[15]

Published Works

  • The Irish through British eyes: perceptions of Ireland in the Famine era, Greenwood, 2002, ISBN 978-0-275-97634-7
  • World War I memories: an annotated bibliography of personal accounts published in English since 1919, Scarecrow, 2004, ISBN 978-0-8108-5008-8
  • General George Washington: A Military Life, Random House, 2005, ISBN 978-1-4000-6081-8 (reprint Random House, Inc., 2008, ISBN 978-0-8129-6950-4)
  • This Glorious Struggle: George Washington's Revolutionary War Letters, Editor Edward G. Lengel, Smithsonian Books, 2007, ISBN 978-0-06-125131-3
  • To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918, Macmillan, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8050-7931-9 (2nd edition Henry Holt and Co., 2009, ISBN 978-0-8050-8915-8)
  • Inventing George Washington: America's Founder, in Myth and Memory, Harper, 2011, ISBN 978-0-061-66258-4
  • First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His--and the Nation's--Prosperity, De Capo Press, 2016, ISBN 978-0-306-82347-3
  • Thunder and Flames: Americans in the Crucible of Combat, 1917-1918, University Press of Kansas, 2015, ISBN 978-0-7006-2084-5
  • Never in Finer Company: The Men of the Great War's Lost Battalion, Da Capo Press, 2018, ISBN 978-0306825682

Tours & Talks

Throughout his career, Lengel has given speeches and presentations[13] related to his research as he believes, "engaging with and fellow historians is one of the great joys of being an author."[16] Presentations include those about his published works, such as his February, 2011 talk at Mount Vernon at the David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall at The Fred W. Smith National Library to discuss his book First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His--and the Nation's—Prosperity[17]. Or his 2017 talk, "Testing the American Way of War: Doughboys in Combat, 1917-1918" at the George C. Marshall Foundation.[18]

His tagline of being a, "storyteller hiking through history," is supported by curated or customized events and small-group walking tours of historic sites.[16]

Lengel is also on the Historical Advisory Board for the United States World War I Centennial Commission and he is one of the contributors to their Podcast series WWI Centennial News.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Edward G. Lengel". Retrieved 2018-04-26. 
  2. ^ Berthel, Ron (16 July 2005). "New books profile first U.S. president -- and first first lady". Independent Record. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Never in Finer Company: The Men of the Great War's Lost Battalion - Edward Lengel". Edward Lengel. Retrieved 2018-04-26. 
  4. ^ "About - Edward Lengel". Edward Lengel. Retrieved 2018-04-26. 
  5. ^ "Loyalists vs. Patriots: The Road to Victory from Musgrove's Mill to Cowpens, August 1780-January 1781 (September 12-15, 2018)". americashistoryllc.com. 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2018-04-26. 
  6. ^ Edward, Lengel (April 26, 2018). "Edward Lengel, LinkedIn Profile/Resumé". linkedin.com/in/edward-lengel-23598097/. 
  7. ^ AFP (2015-05-02). "University of Virginia to publish rare letters of First Lady Martha Washington". Augusta Free Press. Retrieved 2018-04-26. 
  8. ^ Svrluga, Susan (2015-04-28). "After George Washington died, his wife burned her letters. Except these". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-05-01. 
  9. ^ "Martha Washington's Letters Reveal A Vital Partner To George". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-05-01. 
  10. ^ "U.Va. to Publish Rare Letters of First Lady Martha Washington". UVA Today. 2015-04-29. Retrieved 2018-04-26. 
  11. ^ "Volume 13: Dec. 1777 – Feb. 1778 - The Washington Papers". The Washington Papers. Retrieved 2018-04-26. 
  12. ^ "Edward Lengel Named Chief Historian". WHHA. Retrieved 2018-04-26. 
  13. ^ a b Edward, Lengel (April 26, 2018). "Edward Lengel, Professional C.V." (PDF). edwardlengel.com. 
  14. ^ "Thunder and Flames". kansaspress.ku.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-01. 
  15. ^ Edward, Lengel (2018). "Edward G. Lengel professional C.V." (PDF). edwardlengel.com. 
  16. ^ a b Edward, Lengel (May 1, 2018). "Tours and Talks". edwardlengel.com. 
  17. ^ "Ford Evening Book Talk: Edward G. Lengel". George Washington's Mount Vernon. Retrieved 2018-05-01. 
  18. ^ "Marshall and The World Wars - George C. Marshall Foundation". George C. Marshall Foundation. 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2018-05-01. 
  19. ^ "Weekly Podcast - World War I Centennial". www.worldwar1centennial.org. Retrieved 2018-05-01. 

External links

  • "Arrogance of War", The Paula Gordon Show
  • "Meuse-Argonne, 1918: The Battle That Ended World War I", Virginia Historical Society
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • https://www.whitehousehistory.org/staff/edward-lengel
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