Garrett Mattingly

Historian, Award Winner

1900 – 1962


Who was Garrett Mattingly?

Garrett Mattingly was a professor of European history at Columbia University who specialized in early modern diplomatic history and won a Pulitzer Prize for a bestseller about the Spanish Armada.

Born in Washington, D.C., Mattingly attended elementary school in Washington and public high school in Michigan after his family moved to Kalamazoo in 1913. Following graduation, Mattingly served, 1918-1919, as a sergeant in the U. S. Army. He then earned an A. B. summa cum laude at Harvard University and, while still an undergraduate, studied in France at Strasbourg and Paris and in Florence, Italy. After two years spent working in a New York City publishing house he received his M.A. in history at Harvard and began his academic career at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, teaching history and literature. There he formed a close personal and professional friendship with writer Bernard DeVoto.

Mattingly completed his PhD at Harvard in 1935, having developed a strong interest in the sixteenth century and coming under the influence of Roger B. Merriman, a specialist in the history of the Spanish Empire. Aided by a Guggenheim Fellowship—of which he was a four-time winner—he spent the academic year 1937-1938 doing intensive research in European archives. In order to read the primary sources, Mattingly taught himself several foreign languages as well as sixteenth-century script.

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May 6, 1900
Washington, D.C.
  • United States of America
  • Harvard University
Dec 18, 1962

on July 23, 2013


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