SAMUEL ELIOT MORISON Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison, USNR (July 9, 1887 - May 15, 1976) was an American historian, notable for producing both authoritative scholarship and highly readable, an ability recognized with two Pulitzer Prizes.


Born in Boston, Massachusetts to John H. Morison (?) and Emily Marshall Eliot Morison , he attended Harvard University, acquiring a BA in 1908 and a Ph.D. in 1912 (or 1913?). Although he taught at University of California, Berkeley and Oxford University (1922-1925), he spent most of his 40-year career at Harvard, starting in 1915, becoming Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History in 1941, and retiring in 1955. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.


Morison combined his personal interest in sailing with his professional activities when he chartered a boat and sailed to the various places that Christopher Columbus had supposedly visited.


In 1942, he was appointed into the United States Naval Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, for the purpose of developing first-hand knowledge of the war. The result was the unmatched History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, a work in 15 volumes that covered every aspect of the war, from strategic planning to individual exploits. One of his research assistants on that project, Henry Salomon, went on to conceive the epic NBC documentary series Victory at Sea.


The frigate USS Samuel Eliot Morison (FFG-13) was named in his honor.