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Famous History Majors

In Politics and Public Life

Presidents of the United States

Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt (also president of the American Historical Association, 1912)

Woodrow Wilson (also president of the American Historical Association, 1924)

Franklin D. Roosevelt

John F. Kennedy

Richard Nixon

George W. Bush

Dwight Eisenhower (he wrote CRUSADE IN EUROPE, a full history of WWII)

Joe Biden

Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill

Other World Leaders

W.E.B. DuBois (also one of the first Americans, and the first African-American, to earn a Ph.D. in history – from Harvard)

Henry Kissinger

Gordon Brown (Prime Minister of Great Britain)

Alexander the Great*

Winston Churchill*

Image removed.
Tim Johnson

American Politicians

Newt Gingrich (also holds a Ph.D. in history)

George McGovern

George Mitchell

Tim Johnson (U.S. Congress, Illinois 15th District)


In the Law

Elena Kagan
Elena Kagan

Eric Holder (U.S. Attorney General)

Elena Kagan (first female dean of Harvard Law School, U.S. Supreme Court Justice)

Antonin Scalia (U.S. Supreme Court Justice)

Anthony M. Kennedy (U.S. Supreme Court Justice)


In the Media

Seymour Hersh

Charles Kuralt

Charles Kuralt
Charles Kuralt

Charlie Rose

Samantha Power

Chris “Boomer” Berman

Wolf Blitzer

Bill O’Reilly

David Brancaccio

John Schwarz

Ray Suarez

Andrés Martinez


In Business

Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart

Chelsea Clinton (hedge fund manager)

Chris Hughes (co-founder of Facebook)

Donna Dubinsky (CEO of Palm, Inc.;developed the Personal Digital Assistant [PDA])

Samuel Palmisano (CEO of the  IBM Corporation)

Carly Fiorina (president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard)

Howard Stringer (chairman and CEO of the Sony Corporation)

Richard B. Fisher (chairman of Morgan Stanley)

Lee Iacocca
Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca (CEO of Chrysler)

Charles Sennott (co-founder and vice president of Global News)

Ben Silverman (co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio)

Robert Johnson (CEO of BET TV)

James Kilts (CEO of the Gillette Corporation)

Charles L. Hill (CEO of Veritas et Lux, president of the Boston Society of Security Analysts)

Clemson Smith Muñiz (founder and president of Smith Muñiz Productions, a Spanish-language sports media company)

Samuel J. Palmisano (Chief Executive Officer of IBM)

Jim Rogers (founder of the Quantum Fund, creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index)


In Entertainment

Conan O'Brien
Conan O'Brien

Steve Carell

Sacha Baron Cohen

Conan O’Brien

Edward Norton

Sean Astin

Michael Palin (in fact, his fellow Monty Python founder, Terry Jones, has published extensively on medieval history and hosted a History Channel series on the Middle Ages)

Jimmy Buffett

Julia Child

Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn

Larry David

Brian Dennehy

Janeane Garofalo

Ellen Barkin

Katharine Hepburn

Errol Morris


In Sports

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Bill Bradley  

Andrew DeClercq

Ken Dryden

Grant Hill


On Your Bookshelf (Next to All Those Histories)

Ayn Rand

Annie Proulx

Malcolm Gladwell

Gail Z. Martin

Sharon Kay Penman

Magali García Ramis

Tony Horwitz

H. G. Wells (science fiction writer who also authored the widly popular OUTLINE OF HISTORY)

Carl Sandburg (poet and critic who also wrote the best-selling multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln)

David Hume (philosopher who also wrote a HISTORY OF ENGLAND)

Machiavelli (political philosopher who also wrote a history of Florence)

G.W.F. Hegel (philosopher who also wrote LECTURES ON HISTORY the last decade of his life)

Karl Marx (political philosopher who wrote historical analyses of various European events)


In the Arts, Sciences, and Education (in Fields Other than History)

Michael Hogan (President of the University of Illinois)

J. Carter Brown (Director, National Gallery of Art)

Louis R. Caplan (neurologist, physician, professor)  

Robert Fogel (winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences)

Josh Sawyer (designer of role-playing video games)

Kevin Fagan (cartoonist and creator of the syndicated strip “Drabble”)

Franklin S. Odo (Director, Smithsonian Institution’s Asia Pacific American Program)

Flo Steinberg (pioneer publisher of underground comic books)

Frank Stella (painter and printmaker)

Andrew Dickson White (co-founder and first President of Cornell University)

John Milton Gregory (first President of the University of Illinois)

Drew Gilpin Faust (current President of Harvard)


*people whose study of history was essential to their success


Compiled by

Carol Symes, Department of History, University of Illinois



Catherine M. Burns, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Department of History, Bethel University