Respected and Accomplished American Historian

Dr. Edward T. O’Donnell, Ph.D. earned his bachelor’s degree from Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA and his Ph.D. in American History from Columbia University. He is an Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA.

O’Donnell is the author of several books, including Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age America (Columbia University Press, 2015); Visions of America: A History of the United States (co-author, Pearson, 3rd ed. 2016); Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum (Random House/Broadway Books, May 2003); and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History (Random House/Broadway Books, 2002).

O’Donnell is also a professional public speaker. He has delivered history-themed presentations before thousands of educational, business, and nonprofit organizations since 1991. O’Donnell is also a featured speaker for One Day University. During his years in New York City, O’Donnell also led more than 1,200 walking tours through New York City’s ethnic neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Little Italy, and Harlem.

O’Donnell is also a very active public historian who appears frequently in history programs and documentaries on the History Channel, PBS, the Discovery Channel, and Curiosity Stream. He also has curated several major museum exhibits on American history. In 2020 he created The Weemsy Awards™ to highlight false and/or outrageous statements about US history by public figures.

About us

O’Donnell also has created video lecture courses on American history for The Great Courses, including "Turning Points in American History" (48 lectures) and "America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era" (24 lectures).

O'Donnell also hosts a podcast: on all things American history.


Ph.D. May 1995 Columbia University
M.Phil. May 1991 Columbia University
M.A., History May 1989 Columbia University
B.A., History May 1986 Holy Cross College


2001 – present: Associate Professor of History (tenured), Holy Cross College (Worcester, MA)
1995–2001: Associate Professor of History (tenured), Hunter College, CUNY (New York, NY)



A social biography of the reformer Henry George and his most important years of public activism in the 1880s.


Presents an engaging narrative reflecting the latest historical scholarship and the role of images in the history survey. 


Tells the extraordinary story of the burning of the steamboat General Slocum, the deadliest day in New York City history before September 11.


A comprehensive and vividly illustrated celebration of Irish American enterprise, talent, and courage.