On a sunny Sunday morning in May, Tufts University held its 2012 commencement exercises. The event was of particular significance to us at AAS because among the recipients of honorary degrees was AAS’s own Philip J. Lampi, who has spent more than four decades compiling early electoral data. Mostly on his own time and at his own expense, Phil spent years visiting courthouses, town halls, and libraries to transcribe election returns for the entire country for the period from 1787 to 1825. In the process, he has transformed the understanding of politics and elections in the early republic. A partnership between AAS and Tufts University, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, has resulted in the New Nation Votes database which makes this valuable data available to all.
After years of quiet and patient labor, Phil has gained a considerable amount of recognition, including this most recent and most public honor from Tufts. His work was lauded in an article by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker in 2007. Last year, he received the first ever Chairman’s Commendation from NEH; Phil’s work is also the centerpiece of the Summer 2012 issue of Journal of the Early Republic, which includes articles by Phil and four other noted scholars of American electoral history.
We’re proud to be Philip Lampi’s colleagues. Congratulations, Phil!