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November 20, 2012

William Hitchcock Named Kissinger Chair at John W. Kluge Center

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed William I. Hitchcock as the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library’s John W. Kluge Center. He will begin his tenure on Dec. 3.

A professor of history at the University of Virginia and a senior scholar at the Miller Center for Public Policy, Hitchcock has written widely on Cold War trans-Atlantic relations and European international affairs in the post-World War II era.

He will spend six months at the Library of Congress continuing research on his forthcoming book, "The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s," which will be published by Simon and Schuster.

"Eisenhower was a dominant thinker and he had a remarkable strategic mind when it came to foreign policy and national-security issues," Hitchcock says. "I want to get at how he believed America should deploy its power in the world to secure its interests and reveal something we didn’t know before about Eisenhower’s mind and his presidency."

Hitchcock said the Library of Congress offers extraordinary archival resources on Eisenhower’s presidency. "I’m eager to exploit the personal papers of members of his circle—friends, colleagues, Congressmen, and important Republican Party officials. Many have papers at the Library of Congress," he said.

Hitchcock’s most recent publication is "The Human Rights Revolution: An International History," co-edited with Petra Goedde and Akira Iriye. The volume features an essay by Hitchcock on the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the evolution of the laws of war.

His 2008 book "The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe" was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, a winner of the George Louis Beer Prize, and a Financial Times bestseller in the United Kingdom. Hitchcock began his career at Yale University, working under the renowned historian Paul Kennedy.

"I grew up as the son of a Foreign Service officer," Hitchcock said, "so I was pre-disposed to want to know more about the world and America’s place in it. I was always looking at the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world, and how different cultures and people interact."

The Kissinger Chair is a distinguished senior research position in residence at the Library for a period of up to 10 months. Using research facilities and services at the Library of Congress, the scholar is expected to engage in research on foreign policy and international affairs that will lead to publication. The annual appointment of the Kissinger scholar is made by the Librarian of Congress upon the recommendation of a selection committee consisting of representatives from the academic community and foreign-policy experts.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources, and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the Kluge Center visit

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

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PR 12-214
ISSN 0731-3527

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