Mike Wallace (historian)

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Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace, Historian, photo 2017.jpg
Mike Wallace, 2017
New York City, United States
Notable work
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 co-author Edwin G. Burrows,
Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919,
Mickey Mouse History and other essays on American Memory
(m. 2004)

Mike Wallace (born July 22, 1942) is an American historian. He specializes in the history of New York City, and in the history and practice of "public history". In 1998 he co-authored Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, which in 1999 won the Pulitzer Prize in History. In 2017, he published a successor volume, Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919. Wallace is a Distinguished Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York), and at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Early life and education[edit]

Wallace was born in Queens in 1942. The family moved to San Francisco in 1943 and returned to New York in 1949. He grew up in Fresh Meadows, Queens, Valley Stream, and Great Neck.

Wallace went to Columbia College in 1960. On graduating in 1964 he stayed on at Columbia University for graduate studies. With historian Richard Hofstadter as his adviser, his dissertation examined the emergence of the two-party system. He worked as Hofstadter’s research assistant, and in 1968 had his first[1] article accepted by the American Historical Review.[2]

In 1968 Wallace took part in the student strike at Columbia University.[3] In 1969 he and Hofstadter wrote a documentary history of violence in the U.S.[4][5][6][7][8]


In 1970, he taught for a year at Franconia College. In 1971, Wallace accepted a teaching position at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

In the early 1970s Wallace began working with other historians of his generation who were “broadening the scope of American history by adding the voices of those previously excluded, such as women, blacks and the working class.”[9] In 1973 Wallace helped launch, and for the next ten years directed, the Radical History Forum. He also participated in transforming the Radical Historians’ Newsletter, started in 1973, into the Radical History Review, by 1975, and then served as its editorial coordinator.[10]

During the 1980s, Wallace wrote essays about the ways history gets presented – or misrepresented – to the general public, outside of schools and universities. In 1996, these pieces were collected in a book called Mickey Mouse History and Other Essays on American Memory.[11]

In 1998 he co-authored (with Edwin G. Burrows) Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, which in 1999 won the Pulitzer Prize in History.

In 2000 Wallace founded the Gotham Center for New York City History, a non-profit organization.[12] It is part of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY)

The successor volume, Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919, was published on October 2, 2017.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Wallace is married to Mexican author and playwright Carmen Boullosa.[15] He was formerly married, in December 1969, to Nancy Greenough;[16] in May 1973 to Elizabeth Fee[17][18] and in October 1987 to historian and former Queen of Sikkim, Hope Cooke.[19]


  1. ^ http://pulitzer.org/winners/edwin-g-burrows-and-mike-wallace
  2. ^ Changing Concepts of Party in the United States: New York, 1815-1828, American Historical Review, 74 (1968).
  3. ^ Reminiscences of Mike Wallace on Columbia 1968", in Student Movements of the 1960s Project, Columbia Oral History Collection [interviewed by Alessandra Lorini (1983)
  4. ^ Richard Hofstadter and Michael Wallace, American Violence: A Documentary History (Knopf, 1970) ISBN 9780307814005
  5. ^ David S. Brown, Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography (University of Chicago Press, 2008).
  6. ^ Michael Wallace, “The Uses of Violence in American History,” The American Scholar, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Winter, 1970-71), pp. 81-102.
  7. ^ Arthur Schlesinger Jr., “Review of American Violence,” New York Times (October 25, 1970).
  8. ^ “The Particular in the Void,” Wall Street Journal (December 28, 1970).
  9. ^ Robert A. Bell, “The Changing Voice of Left History: New Left Journals and Radical American History”, Ph.D., University of Waterloo, 1999.
  10. ^ “A Conversation about the Radical History Review: Former and Current Collective Members Reminisce” Radical History Review, Issue 79, (Winter 2001), pp. 15–47.
  11. ^ Michael Kammen on Mickey Mouse History
  12. ^ "About" on the Gotham Center website
  13. ^ Mike Wallace, Greater Gotham, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195116356
  14. ^ Berger, Joseph (October 9, 2017). "The 20 Years That Made New York City". Retrieved January 15, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  15. ^ Aaron Bady, "Carmen Boullosa's Texas: We Have Always Been at War with Mexico," Pacific Standard, October 1, 2015. Allen Lincoln, "They're Cows, We're Pigs, by Carmen Boullosa", Grove. New York Times, July 13, 1997.
  16. ^ “Nancy Greenough to Marry Dec. 13,” New York Times, October 26, 1969.
  17. ^ “Interview with Elizabeth Fee” (2006)
  18. ^ “Elizabeth Fee Publications.”
  19. ^ Hope Cooke, Time Change (Simon & Schuster, 1981). Francine du Plessis Gray, "The Fairy Tale that Turned Nightmare," New York Times, March 8, 1981.

External links[edit]