Henry Graff Biography – 5 Interesting Facts You Need To Know

Like the sound historian he is, Professor Henry Graff has the history of American politics at his fingertips. The renowned scholar and historian taught the history of the Presidency of the United States at Columbia University and also specialized in foreign relations. For his notable works, he received an honorary doctor of letters degree in 2005. The degree was awarded him as an acknowledgment for his academic and political contributions to Columbia University.

Henry Graff has continued to make significant strides in politics with his prowess in America’s political history. There is so much more to know about the college professor and historian. Here are other interesting facts about him.

Henry Graff – Biography

Henry Franklin Graff was born on August 11, 1921, in New York City. Growing up, he attended several public schools, but their names are not presently known. He is an alumnus of City College of New York. Graff was very brilliant in school and after finishing with one of the best distinction, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa – an academic honor society. After his graduation from the school, Henry Graff proceeded to Columbia University where he earned his Masters degree in 1942. He went on to get a Ph.D. in 1949.

After the US witnessed the dreadful Pearl Harbour attack by the Japanese in 1941, Graff joined the Army. After serving his nation for a couple of years he left in 1946 and became a civilian again. That same year he joined the faculty of Columbia University where he recorded great exploits. Before joining Columbia, he taught History at City College.

During his time with Columbia University, Henry Graff served as Chairman of the History Department for years. His forte was on the history of the American Presidency as well as foreign relations. While at Columbia, he also had part-time engagements at Vassar College, and many other schools. The renowned professor is a member of various professional societies. Some of them include the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, the Society of American Historians, and lots more.

In the early 90s, he became quite active in politics, having been placed on the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board, by the then President, Bill Clinton, and the Senate. Before this time, he had already served at the National Historical Publications Commission for a period of six years.

Henry Graff
Henry Graff (L) and Bernard Sunshine, president of Columbia’s Alumni Federation: image source

Henry Graff has been of great significance in media relations with regards to history and politics. He lent his services to various media outlets like CBS, and Time Magazine, as a consultant on their publications and programs, as the case may be. In 1994, he worked with CBS during the period of the funeral of President Richard Nixon. That same year, he also served during CBS’ coverage of the June 6 D-Day anniversary commemoration.

Apart from his designation as the chairman of the History Department, Henry Graff was also a member of the Columbia Univerity Press. Indeed, his service to the nation cannot be overemphasized.

See Also: William Barr – Biography, Education, Family And Net Worth

5 Interesting Facts You Need To Know About Henry Graff

1. He Is An Author

Professor Henry Graff is also a renowned author of many books. Most of his books center on American history. While his first book is Bluejackets With Perry in Japan, he is best known for The Tuesday Cabinet: Deliberation and Decision on Peace and War under Lyndon B. Johnson. Many institutions, including high schools, include his numerous history textbooks in their academic curricula. Some of his high school textbooks include This Great Nation: A History of the United States, The Free and the Brave, The Call of Freedom (with Paul Bohannan), and many others.

2. Awards

For his notable works and contributions, the renowned professor has several accolades to his name. To mention a few, Graff greeted the 90s with the Kidger Award of the New England History Teachers’ Association, for his excellence as a teacher and an author. He was given the President’s medal of George Washington University in 1997, a prestigious accolade regarded as the highest award of the university. He was also given an Award for Excellence by the Kaul Foundation in 2001 for his contributions as a historian.

3. Personal Life – Spouse, Kids

Henry Graff is happily married to his wife, Edith Graff. The couple tied the knot in 1946 and have two daughters together. They live together in Scarsdale, New York. Henry and his wife have five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

4. Net Worth

Professor Henry Graff is far above average when it comes to his financial status. Although he is not vocal about it, the renowned professor counts a net worth of millions of dollars; however, the exact amount has not been revealed to the public.

5. Height and Weight

Henry Graff stands at a height of 1.77m which is proportional to his body weight of 89 kg.


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