Richard L. Bushman

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Richard Lyman Bushman (born June 20, 1931) is a Latter-day Saint historian. Although he has written several books on Latter-day Saint history, including his marvelous biography of Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling, Bushman is primarily a historian of the intelectual and cultural history of the United States in the Colonial and Early-Republican period, with Joseph Smith living at the very end of the time of his expertise.

Brother Bushman is the Gouverneur Morris Professor of History emeritus at Columbia University. He is currently the Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University.[1] [2] He also serves as one of three general editors of the forthcoming Joseph Smith Papers.[3]

Prior to taking up his current assignment in California, Brother Bushman had served as the patriarch of the New York New York Stake.


Richard Bushman was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of a department store executive. He was reared in Portland, Oregon. Bushman received his AB, AM, and PhD degrees from Harvard University, where he studied with distinguished early American historian Bernard Bailyn.

Brother Bushman taught at Harvard, Brigham Young University, Boston University, and the University of Delaware, before joining the history faculty at Columbia. During the 2007-08 academic year, Bushman served as Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University and held a Huntington Library fellowship. Bushman married fellow historian Claudia Lauper Bushman on August 19, 1955; and they are the parents of four sons (Richard, Karl, Serge, and Ben) and two daughters (Clarissa and Margaret).

Brother Bushman interrupted his undergraduate studies at Harvard to serve as a missionary in New England and Atlantic Canada, then all encompassed in the New England mission. Brother Bushman has held many callings in the Church, including being a Seminary Teacher, bishop, stake president, and Stake Patriarch.

Brother Bushman was bishop of the Elsworth Ward in Northern Delaware, which at that time included many University of Delaware students, while he was a faculty member at that institution. Sister Bushman supervised a commitee in this ward that put together a book, entitled Mormon Lives, during this time about the ward members.

Brother Bushman was long on the advisory board of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at Brigham Young University, and since the realignment of that Institute and the shifting of much of its staff to the Church History Department, where they are working on the Joseph Smith Papers Project, Brother Bushman has become one of the three general editors of the Joseph Smith Papers Project.[4]


Brother Bushman's scholarship includes studies of early American social, cultural, and political history, American religious history, and the history of the Mormon Church, and his books have won numerous awards. In 1968, Bushman's From Puritan to Yankee: Character and Social Order in Connecticut, 1690-1765 won the prestigious Bancroft Prize, an award given by the trustees of Columbia University for the year's best book on American history. Bushman has also received the Phi Alpha Theta prize, and Evans Biography Awards, administered by the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies at Utah State University. In 2006, Bushman received the Mormon History Association's annual 2006 Best Book award for his biography Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. Bushman has held Guggenheim, Huntington, National Humanities Center, and National Endowment for Humanities fellowships; and he served as president of the Mormon History Association (1985–1986).[5]


  • From Puritan to Yankee; character and the social order in Connecticut, 1690-1765. Harvard University Press, 1967. ISBN 0-674-32551-6
  • Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism. University of Illinois Press, 1984. ISBN 0-252-01143-0
  • King and People in Provincial Massachusetts. University of North Carolina Press, textbook reprint 1992. ISBN 0-8078-4398-9
  • The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities. Random House, Incorporated , 1993. ISBN 0-679-74414-2
  • Building the Kingdom: A History of Mormons in America,, with Claudia Lauper Bushman. Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-19-515022-8
  • Believing History: Latter-Day Saint Essays, Edited by Jed Woodworth. Columbia University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-231-13006-6
  • Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling., Alfred Knopf, 2005, ISBN 1-4000-4270-4
  • On the Road with Joseph Smith: An Author's Diary, Greg Kofford Books, 2007, ISBN 978-1-58958-102-9
  • The Mormon History Association's Tanner Lectures, with Dean L. May, Reid L. Neilson, Thomas G. Alexander (Editor), Jan Shipps (Editor). University of Illinois Press, 2006. ISBN 0-252-07288-X
  • Great Awakening: Documents on the Revival of Religion, 1740-1745. Institute Of Early American History, University of North Carolina Press, Textbook reprint 1989. ISBN 0-8078-4260-5


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