Tony Badger

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Tony Badger is a historian, author and is the Paul Mellon Professor of American History at Cambridge University. Badger, a specialist in post-World War II political history in the South, was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Historians last year.

Badger has held the Mellon professorship at Cambridge since 1992 and has been Master of Clare College at Cambridge since 2003. He served as Fellow of Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge from 1992 to 2003. Badger previously taught at Newcastle University for 20 years. He was educated at Cambridge, North Carolina State and Hull universities.

Badger has written extensively about the New Deal and the post-1945 American South. His first two books had a North Carolina focus: Prosperity Road: The New Deal, Tobacco, and North Carolina and North Carolina and the New Deal. He subsequently wrote The New Deal: The Depression Years and New Deal/New South: The Anthony J Badger Reader. In 1997, he gave the Harrelson Lecture at North Carolina State. He has served as an editor for several books on American political history and the civil rights movement.

His latest book, FDR: The First Hundred Days, was chosen as then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s book of the year in 2008. The Observer, a leading British newspaper, described Badger’s book as “top of the political class’s reading list on both sides of the Atlantic at Christmas.” Badger is currently working on a biography of the late Albert Gore Sr., a U.S. senator from Tennessee and the father of former vice president Al Gore.

In 2009, Badger was appointed to chair the Kennedy Memorial Trust, which administers the memorial to President Kennedy at Runnymede and a scholarship program that sends British graduate students to Harvard and MIT. The memorial and the scholarships were funded by donations from the British public as a tribute to President Kennedy.

In 2011 the British foreign secretary appointed Badger to oversee the transfer of the migrated colonial archive from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the National Archives. The existence of this archive of files sent to London by British colonial governments before independence had been kept secret for 50 years.

Badger, who has served multiple terms on the University Council at Cambridge, also led the university’s Colleges Committee and Cambridge Assessment. He chaired a search committee in 2002 that led to the nomination of Yale Provost Alison Richard as the first “outsider” to lead Cambridge.