David McCullough

David McCullough


July 7, 1933

David McCullough Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

David McCullough has lived a life full of interests.  It is his writing and historical research that makes him popular in all types of media.

Childhood And Early Life

McCullough was born on July 7, 1933, in Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDavid McCullough grew up with three brothers.  His parents, Christian and Ruth, often discussed history.  This is something that has played a big part in his writing genre of choice.



David McCullough always had a love for learning.  David McCullough attended Shady Side Academy in his youth.  Later he attended Yale University.  While he had thoughts about pursuing some careers from artist to lawyer to medicine, he finally decided to follow his passion in writing. 

David McCullough was able to meet with famous writers in the faculty and visiting authors.  During that time, David McCullough was an apprentice with some publications and organizations including Time, Life, American Heritage, and the United States Information Agency.  David McCullough graduated with honors with a degree in English in 1955.



David McCullough gained a lot of experience from his apprenticeships as well as his entry-level jobs.  He was a trainee at Sports Illustrated after college.  David McCullough was also an editor and writer for the United States Information Agency and American Heritage where he did some of his apprenticeships.  

During his twelve years in the workforce, David McCullough was also working on his books.  History became an area of interest and fascination.  His first book, The Johnstown Flood was published in 1968 with much praise. 

While David McCullough was offered contracts with topics for writing, he went on to write what others may not have written about differently.  His next book, The Great Bridge, was in print in 1972 with the same kind of positive feedback as his first book.

The book that truly made David McCullough more well known was his 1977 book The Path Between the Seas:  The Creation of the Panama Canal.  Not only did it receive multiple prizes and honors, but it also helped the Carter administration pass the treaties to hand over ownership of the canal to Panama. 

His next book Mornings on Horseback about the life of Theodore Roosevelt was also a National Book Award winner. Truman was published in 1993 and earned him his first Pulitzer Prize.  His next book John Adams won the same prize nine years later.  Certain books became a springboard for the next book. 

David McCullough wrote about John Adams after writing about another president.  David McCullough wrote 1776 which was published in 2005 as a companion to John Adams.  The idea of sequels and companions are often in McCullough's thoughts when it comes to his next writing assignment.

David McCullough did more than just write books.  He was the narrator for the film Seabiscuit in 2003 as well as documentaries such as Ken Burn's The Civil War and NOVA's A Man, A Plan, A Canal:  Panama. 

Other narrations include his audiobooks like 1776 and The Wright BrothersDavid McCullough was also the host of PBS's American Experience for eleven years. McCullough continues to write and publish books.  His next book The Pioneers is scheduled to be published in 2019.


Personal Life And Legacy

David McCullough married Rosalee Ingram Barnes in 1954.  The couple had five children.

Many of McCullough's biographies have won awards.  Some have also been adapted for film or television.  For example, the biography of Harry S. Truman was an HBO TV movie while the biography of John Adams was an HBO mini-series.  He has taken history and presented it in a way that is narrative and engaging.


Awards And Achievements  

Awards for The Path Between the Seas:
•    National Book Award in History
•    Francis Parkman Prize
•    Samuel Eliot Morison Award
•    Cornelius Ryan Award
    National Book Award for Mornings on Horseback
    Awards for Truman:

•    The Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award
•    Francis Parkman Prize

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography or Autobiography, Truman and John Adams
American Compass Best Book of 2005, 1776

National Aviation Hall of Fame Combs Gates Award, The Wright Brothers
National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, 1995

Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, 2005
Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2006
United States Capitol Historical Society's Freedom Award, 2016
Gerry Lenfest Spirit of the American Revolution Award, 2016
Over 40 honorary degrees
John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship member


Summary Of Major Works

•    The Johnstown Flood (1968)
•    The Great Bridge (1972)
•    The Path Between the Seas (1977)
•    Morning on Horseback (1981)
•    Truman (1992)
•    John Adams (2001)
•    1776 (2005)
•    The Wright Brothers (2015)