Idaho Librarian


  A Record 

    The Case for a Library Catalog Note for 
   Michael Bellesiles’s 
    Arming America: 
 The Origins of a National Gun Culture


Philip A. Homan

Abstract: Michael A. Bellesiles’s Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, published by Alfred A. Knopf in September 2000, has been at the center of a recent controversy concerning the Second Amendment, gun control, and academic integrity.  Claiming that few Americans owned firearms before the Civil War, the book was both praised and criticized by reviewers on either side of the “individual rights” versus “collective rights” issue of the Second Amendment and won the 2001 Bancroft Prize from Columbia University.  Scholars who had come to different conclusions, however, criticized Bellesiles’s research, and a committee appointed by Emory University concluded that Bellesiles’s work was unprofessional and questioned his scholarly integrity.  Bellesiles resigned from Emory, Columbia rescinded the Bancroft Prize, and Knopf stopped publication of the book.  At least one library has withdrawn its copy from its collection.  The history of Arming America offers a rare glimpse into the biography of a book in which author, publisher, reviewers, award committees, the media, academics, and librarians have all played roles.]

 Last fall a colleague took a telephone call at Oboler Library’s reference desk from an Idaho State University faculty member who asked whether we had a certain book and were aware of the controversy about it.  My colleague mentioned the controversy surrounding Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture  (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), by American historian Michael A. Bellesiles, to Leonard Hitchcock, Associate University Librarian for Collection Development at Idaho State University, and Editor of the Idaho Librarian.  Since I expressed an interest, Mr. Hitchcock asked me whether I would be willing to research and report on the issue and to compose a note concerning the controversy for possible inclusion in ISUs online catalog record for the book.

Arming America has been at the center of a recent controversy concerning the meaning of the Second Amendment, gun control, and academic integrity.  In March 2000, almost 50 legal scholars and historians, among them Bellesiles, then Professor of History at Emory University, Atlanta, and founding Director of Emory’s Center for the Study of Violence,[1] signed a letter, from the Legal Community Against Violence, to Charlton Heston, President of the National Rifle Association, stating that the Second Amendment did not prohibit “broad and intensive regulation of firearms” and urging the NRA “to stop misleading Americans about the Second Amendment.”[2]  LCAV simultaneously published an ad announcing the letter in the New York Times calling the NRA’s “misrepresentation of the Second Amendment” “shameful.”[3]

The list of signers of LCAV’s letter to the NRA reads like the dramatis personae in the Arming America controversy.  Five—Bellesiles, Carl T. Bogus, Michael C. Dorf, Jack N. Rakove, and H. Richard Uviller—participated with six other scholars in the April 28, 2000, Chicago-Kent College of Law symposium “The Second Amendment: Fresh Looks,” edited by Bogus, that examined the meaning of the Second Amendment, its historical context, and the state of Second-Amendment scholarship.[4]  The symposium criticized the position of Joyce Lee Malcolm, Professor of History at Bentley College, Waltham, Massachusetts, whose belief that the framers of the Constitution intended the Second Amendment to guarantee an individual, rather than simply a collective, right “to keep and bear arms” is more akin to that of the NRA.

Arming America began as an article in the Organization of American Historians’ Journal of American History that won the OAH’s 1997 Binkley-Stephenson Award “for the best scholarly article published in the Journal of American History during the preceding calendar year.”[5]  Bellesiles was awarded a $40,000 Senior Fellowship for 1998-99 from Stanford University’s Stanford Humanities Center to write a book on the origins of the gun culture in the United States.  The book was published in September 2000 by Alfred A. Knopf and supports arguments against the NRA’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.  On the basis of probate records, military censuses, and travel narratives, among other documents, the book claims that few people in America owned guns until the Civil War and that the colonial militias were ineffective during the Revolution.

Bellesiles’s argument that only about 14 percent of over a thousand county probate inventories from the northern New England and western Pennsylvania frontiers from 1765 to 1790 mentioned guns, and over half of them broken or otherwise unusable, interested me.  I have been using probate records—wills, petitions, letters testamentary and of administration, inventories, and guardianships—in genealogical research for several years.  I wondered whether Bellesiles’s samples were large enough or taken from the best counties.  Did most men in early America write wills?  Were all estates probated?  Although wills most often mentioned only real property, would inventories always mention guns if the decedents had owned them?  Moreover, although we would expect guns to have been more common in the frontier, should we not expect probates to have been less?  Finally, since the population of the United States only in 1790, according to the first census, was 3,929,214 persons,[6] albeit not all men, was a count of 1,000 inventories enough?

The book’s dust jacket bears the usual superlatives.[7]  Five of the ten contributors were signers of LCAV’s NRA letter.  Michael Zuckerman, University of Pennsylvania Professor of History, said, “This book changes everything,” and called Bellesiles “the NRA’s worst nightmare.”  Mary Beth Norton, a Professor of American History at Cornell University, claimed that Bellesiles demonstrates that “good history . . . can expose myth and open new avenues for discussion.”  Michael Kammen, also a Cornell professor and 1995-96 President of the Organization of American Historians, opined that Arming America, an “astonishingly original and innovative book, chock-full of fascinating revelations,” “ought to raise current controversies about gun control to a more fact-based and rational level” and is “certain to endure as a classic work of significant scholarship with inescapable policy implications.”  Robert R. Dykstra, SUNY Albany Professor Emeritus of History, called Arming America a “splendidly subversive book” that “will convince any sane reader that America’s ‘gun culture’” is the product of “a relentlessly insistent federal government.”  And R. Don Higginbotham, University of North Carolina’s Dowd Professor of History, claimed that “no one previously has given us such an authoritative account of firearms in our history from the Colonial period through the Civil War.”

The book quickly received favorable reviews in the popular press.  In the New York Times Book Review, a signer of the letter to the NRA, Garry Wills, Pulitzer Prize-winning Northwestern University Department of History adjunct—who praised Bellesiles’s JAH article as “one of the most important (but neglected) studies of the colonial frontier”[8] in his book A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust in Government and cites the article as proof that the ubiquity of guns in colonial American is a “revolutionary myth”[9]—believed Bellesiles “to have dispersed the darkness that covered the gun’s early history in America.”[10]  Edmund S. Morgan, Yale University Sterling Professor of History, Emeritus, and 1989 Bancroft Prize winner, said, in the New York Review of Books, that “Bellesiles will have done us all a service if his book reduces the credibility of the fanatics who endow the Founding Fathers with posthumous membership in what has become the cult of the gun.”[11]  Dan Baum in the Chicago Tribune said, “Bellesiles knows what he’s talking about and can back it up with research instead of myth and polemic.”[12]  Bellesiles’s book was also reviewed favorably by Fred Anderson, University of Colorado at Boulder Professor of History, whose February 2000 book on the French and Indian War, The Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766, also published by Knopf, won the Society of American Historians’ 2001 Francis Parkman Prize.[13]  Arming America was also praised in literary,[14] political,[15] business,[16] and religious magazines,[17] including a review by Carl T. Bogus, a signer of LCAV’s letter to the NRA, in The American Prospect,[18] and in book-trade[19] and library magazines,[20] as well.

Arming America received quick media attention, too.  Bellesiles was interviewed by Terry Gross on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air[21], on KPFK Pacifica Radio, Los Angeles [22], by Brooke Gladstone on NPR’s On the Media 23], and by Playboy magazine.[24]  Bellesiles also gave lectures to promote and sign copies of Arming America.  On February 26, 2001, at the University of California, Irvine, where he received his Ph.D. in 1986, Bellesiles gave a lecture entitled, “Unarmed and Dangerous: Historians Confront the Ideological Absolutists,” sponsored by the UCI Department of History and Humanities Center.  Bellesiles also gave the keynote lecture, "How Americans Became an Armed People," at the Stanford Law Schools and the Stanford Humanities Center’s two-day conference on the Second Amendment, which involved scholars on both sides of the “individual rights” versus “collective rights” interpretation of the Second Amendment.[25]  On September 21, 2001, Bellesiles lectured on "Peacemakers, Little Gents, and the Ladys Companion: Promoting Gun Use in Industrial America," at the SUNY New Paltz Arts Now Conference “Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence.”[26]  He gave the lecture “Arming America: Gun Laws, Gun Rights” at Ohio University, Lancaster, on October 4, 2001.[27]  And in December 2001, Bellesiles spoke at Montana State University, Bozeman, on Arming America as part of apublic lecture series of the Montana Committee for the Humanities.[28]

Arming America was also praised in historical journals and law reviews.  Roger Lane, Haverford College’s Benjamin R. Collins Research Professor in the Social Sciences, and 1987 Bancroft Prize winner for Roots of Violence in Black Philadelphia, 1860-1900 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986), published a favorable review in the OAH’s Journal of American History.  Bellesiles, Lane said, “has attacked the central myth behind the National Rifle Association’s interpretation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.  He makes it clear from the opening "that he intends to have an impact on public policy or at least discourse.” [29]  Arming America got favorable reviews by Willard L. Hogeboom, Dowling College;[30] by Daniel Justin Herman, Assistant Professor of History at Central Washington University, [31] and by Matthew Warshauer, Associate Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University, whose review included the transcript of an April 27, 2001, interview with Bellesiles.[32]  Even military historians liked the book.  In The Journal of Military History, Captain John E. Grenier, USAF, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, called Arming America a “meticulously and lucidly argued work” that has “shattered virtually every assumption that historians accept and most gun enthusiasts hold dear concerning guns and their role in American history,” a “must read for anyone who hopes to talk intelligently about the place of guns in American culture.”[33]

Both Bellesiles’s article and the book were anthologized in other history publications.  His JAH article was included in Whose Right to Bear Arms Did the Second Amendment Protect? (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000) in the series Historians at Work, designed “to show students what historians do,”[34] edited by Saul Cornell, with selections also by Garry Wills and Don Higginbotham, co-signers with Bellesiles of the NRA letter, and by Edmund S. Morgan, who favorably reviewed Bellesiles’s book.  An extract of Arming America was printed in the debut issue of the American Antiquarian Society’s “Interactive Journal of Early American Life” Common-Place, co-founded and -edited by Jill Lepore, a Boston University Professor of History and American Studies, 1999 Bancroft Prize winner for The Name of War: King Philips War and American Identity (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998; Vintage edition, 1999), and co-signer with Bellesiles of LCAV’s letter to the NRA.[35]

Arming America was praised in law reviews, as well.  In the May 2001 issue of the Michigan Law Review, constitutional law scholar Paul Finkelman, of the University of Tulsa College of Law, said that Arming America “demolishes” the myth of the colonial American gun culture and threatens supporters of the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment.  “If it is true that gun ownership was irrelevant to most Americans, then it is hard to believe they would have fought to amend the Constitution to protect the right to own something they could not own and did not want to own.”[36]  And in the May 2001 issue of the Texas Law Review, Carl T. Bogus, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law, Bristol, Rhode Island, and author with Bellesiles, inter alia, of The Second Amendment in Law and History: Historians and Constitutional Scholars on the Right to Bear Arms (New York: New Press, 2000), published a second favorable review.  Bellesiles, said Bogus, has “overturned a table on which rested everything we thought we knew about guns in early America,” and Arming America has therefore “provoked a storm of criticism because it is relevant to a debate with contemporary policy implications, namely, the interpretation of the Second Amendment.”[37]

On April 18, 2001, Arming America received Columbia University’s 2001 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy—awarded to works “of enduring worth and impeccable scholarship that make a major contribution to our understanding of the American past”—at a ceremony in Columbia’s Low Library at which Columbia’s University Librarian co-presided.[38]  One of the three Bancroft committee members that gave the prize was Jan E. Lewis, Rutgers University Professor of History, a signer of the letter to the NRA. 

The praise for Arming America quickly caught the attention of the NRA and others who had been watching Bellesiles since the publication of his JAH article.  After reading a report of Bellesiles’s research in The Economist,[39] Charlton Heston complained in Guns & Ammo that Bellesiles “had too much time on his hands.”[40]  He later took issue in a letter to the editor of the New York Times with Wills’s favorable review.[41]  Many critics were disturbed by the book’s implications for the Second Amendment.  The introduction to Arming America,[42] as well as his contributions, in both person[43] and print, [44] to studies of the Second Amendment, belied Bellesiles’s denial that Arming America supported “any contemporary political position.”[45]  Bellesiles was the target of ad hominem comments on various web sites and Internet discussion groups, and he received flaming e-mails, hate mail, hostile telephone calls, and even death threats.[46]  On May 5, 2001, the Council of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, publisher of the William and Mary Quarterly, defended Bellesiles against the harassment his book generated, as well as his academic freedom:

Although it is appropriate to subject all scholarly work to criticism and to evaluate that work’s arguments and its sources, the Council . . . considers personal attacks upon or harassment of an author, as we have seen directed at Michael A. Bellesiles following publication of Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, to be inappropriate and damaging to a tradition of free exchange of ideas and the advancement of our knowledge of the past.[47]

The Council of the American Historical Association repeated the Resolution at its June 2001 meeting,[48] and the OAH Executive Board did so at its Chicago Fall 2001 meeting.[49]

Although Arming America also received unfavorable reviews in the popular[50] and scholarly press[51] the most persistent early criticisms came from Clayton E. Cramer, a Boise, Idaho, software engineer and historian, author of an article and two books on the history of gun control[52] who has published frequently in Shotgun News and in the NRA’s American Rifleman.[53]  Cramer very early reviewed Bellesiles’s book unfavorably for National Review with David B. Kopel, Research Director of the Independence Institute.[54]  Although Cramer’s paper “Why Footnotes Matter: Checking Arming America’s Claims”[55] was rejected for publication by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic’s Journal of the Early Republic, published at Purdue University—just as his article “Gun Scarcity in the Early Republic?,”[56] critical of Bellesiles’s original article, had been turned down by the Journal of American History—Cramer posted the articles, other criticisms, and links to news about the controversy at his web site.[57]  While Bellesiles was attending the Bancroft ceremony at Columbia on April 18, 2001, Cramer participated in a panel discussion of Arming America sponsored by the Columbia College Conservative Club, broadcast April 29 on C-SPAN2’s Book TV.  Cramer was interviewed by Geoff Metcalf in WorldNetDaily on May 20, 2001.[58]

One of the earliest academic critics of Arming America was Joyce Lee Malcolm, whose book about the origins of the Second Amendment, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), argues that the 1689 English Bill of Rights that permitted individual ownership of firearms was adopted and broadened by the framers of the Constitution in the Second Amendment.  Although her book was reviewed favorably on both sides of the Atlantic,[59] Malcolm’s views on the Second Amendment were criticized by Garry Wills in a review essay in the New York Review of Books.[60]  Her book was also unfavorably reviewed by Michael Bellesiles in the Fall 1996 issue of Law and History Review[61] and Malcolm and Bellesiles traded criticisms about the poor review in the Fall 1997 issue.[62]  Bellesiles’s Arming America was thereafter reviewed unfavorably by Malcolm in Reason in January 2001,[63] as well as in the May 2001 issue of the Texas Law Review,[64] which published in the same issue the second favorable review by Carl T. Bogus.[65]  Malcolm was interviewed on her criticisms of the book by Geoff Metcalf on January 7, 2001.[66]  Malcolm also summarized the controversy in the most recent issue of Reason.[67]

Later reviews of Arming America, however, made it clear that not all criticisms could be dismissed as either ideological or sour grapes.  Early criticism of the book alerted other scholars who had counted more guns in early American probate records than had Bellesiles.  Although they largely objected to the author’s use of probate records, they also criticized his methodology, particularly his practice of counting guns mentioned in probate records by means of penciled marks on yellow legal pads.  Other critics charged Bellesiles with claiming to have visited archives that have no record of his visit and citing collections that simply do not exist, such as San Francisco County probate files that were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire,[68] as well as claiming to have read county probate records on Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library microfilm at the National Archives and Records Administration’s East Point (Atlanta), Georgia, Southeast Region facility.  FHL microfilm circulates only to the Church’s local Family History Centers, and NARA preserves only federal records. 

Bellesiles’s most ambitious critic has been James Lindgren, a Professor at Chicago’s Northwestern University School of Law and scholar of probate law.  Lindgren, with attorney Justin L. Heather, a former student, made their case against Arming America in the William and Mary Law Review.[69]  Lindgren also reviewed the book in the Yale Law Journal.[70]  Lindgren, Bellesiles, Jack Rakove, and Randy E. Barnett, Austin B. Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law, were interviewed on the controversy by Gretchen Helfrich in the fifty-minute WBEZ 91.5 FM Chicago Public Radio program Odyssey on January 16, 2001.[71]  Lindgren, too, addressed various chapters of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies on Arming America with a  lecture entitled: “Historians’ Scandals: The Strange Case of Michael Bellesiles and the Missing Guns.”[72]  Moreover, Lindgren shared his research with the press, including the Boston Globe and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Lindgren asked Bellesiles for assistance in reconstructing Bellesiless probate research that was lost in a flood of Emory’s History Department in Bowden Hall.[73]  Bellesiles launched a web site to publish the bibliography for Arming America, his probate data, and his paper "Probate Records as an Historical Source."[74]  Lindgren also insisted that he received e-mails, that Bellesiles denied sending,[75] in which Bellesiles claimed to have read most of the probate records on which he based his claims in Arming America at the East Point, Georgia, facility of the National Archives.  Bellesiles also said that he received computer viruses by e-mail and that hackers changed material on his web site.[76]

In response to the growing academic criticism of Arming America, as well as to reports of the controversy, such as David Mehegan’s front-page story, “New Doubts About Gun Historian Research to Receive Hard Critique Today,” in the Boston Globe, published on September 11, James Melton, Chair of Emory University’s History Department, asked Bellesiles in October 2001 to respond in a scholarly venue to the allegations against his scholarship in Arming America, and Bellesiles did so in the November 2001 newsletter of the Organization of American Historians.[77]  In January 2002 Bellesiles visited the Contra Costa County Historical Society History Center in Martinez, California, to reconstruct his San Francisco County probate research.[78]  James Melton later sent an e-mail apology to Betty Maffei, Director of the Center, for Bellesiles’s criticisms of the Center staff in the Academic Exchange, Emory’s faculty magazine.[79]  Our reputation wasn't at stakehis was, Maffei told the San Francisco Chronicle.  Maybe he thought no one would check a small history center.  But he was just a rude young man.[80]

In a special section entitled “Forum: Historians and Guns,”[81] the January 2002 issue of The William and Mary Quarterly published articles by academic historians on Bellesiles’s research, as well as a response by Bellesiles.  Jack N. Rakove, a Stanford professor, winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in History for Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), and co-signer of the LCAV NRA letter, reiterated his argument against originalismthe meaning of the Constitution (or of its individual clauses) was fixed at the moment of its adoption and the task of interpretation is accordingly to ascertain that meaning and apply it to the issue at hand[82]—that he made in Original Meanings and addressed Arming America’s implications for the Second Amendment.[83]

The three other contributors, however, were critical of the book.  Gloria L. Main, Professor of History at the University of Colorado at Boulder and specialist in the use of probate records for historical research, called Bellesiles’s claim that probate inventories “scrupulously recorded every item in an estate” “nonsense.”[84]  Ira D. Gruber, Harris Masterson, Jr., Professor of History at Rice University, said that Bellesiles’s efforts “to minimize the importance of guns, militia, and war in early America and to portray the Civil War as the catalyst for a national gun culture founder on a consistently biased reading of sources and on careless uses of evidence and context.”[85] Randolph A. Roth, Associate Professor of American History at Ohio State University, claimed that although Bellesiles had the courage to challenge widely held views, “he never tests his thesis against the best available evidence, and it appears that every mistake he makes in his own calculations goes in the same direction, in support of his thesis.”  “My concern is that the thesis of Arming America is wrong, and wrong in ways that will make it more difficult to persuade the public to back policy measures its author supports.”  Only Bellesiles counts so few gun owners in early America, and understanding what went wrong in his probate research is difficult, since he does not discuss his methodology.[86]  In a response to the criticisms, Bellesiles defended his conclusions and reiterated that the evidence from probate records was only a part of his argument that guns were few and forgotten in early America.[87] 

In February 2002, a month after the William and Mary Quarterly forum, Emory University undertook its own examination of Arming America.  Emory appointed a committee of Bellesiles’s peers to examine the allegations of scholarly misconduct with regard to Emory’s “Policies and Procedures for Investigation of Misconduct in Research”[88] and the American Historical Association’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct.[89]  The three-person committee of historians from Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Chicago concluded that “the best that can be said of his work with the probate and militia records is that he is guilty of unprofessional and misleading work” and that Bellesiles’s “scholarly integrity is seriously in question.”[90]

The controversy has been followed by the Chronicle of Higher Education,[91] including an adapted excerpt from the book’s introduction[92] and a cover story.[93]  David Mehegan covered it in an award-winning series[94] of ten articles for the Boston Globe;[95] Jen Sansbury in nine for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution;[96] Robert Stacy McCain in six section-A stories, including two on the front page, for the Washington Times;[97] Ron Grossman, a University of Chicago Ph.D. in Medieval History and former professor of ancient and medieval history at Lake Forest College, for the Chicago Tribune;[98] and Kimberley Strassel for the Wall Street Journal,[99] with a letter-to-the-editor response by Bellesiles.[100]  It has also been followed in The Nation,[101] by David Skinner in The Weekly Standard,[102] and in both the print[103] and online versions[104] of National Review by Melissa Seckora.  The controversy surrounding Arming America has also been charted by numerous Internet publications, including the Emory Wheel On the Web, Emory University’s student newspaper,[105] and the History News Network, an Internet publication designed to put history and historians in the media.[106]

The controversy over Arming America has embarrassed many.  Donald Hickey, Professor of History at Nebraska’s Wayne State College, who peer-reviewed Bellesiles’s 1996 Journal of American History article and recommended it for publication, told the Chicago Tribune that Arming America is “a case of genuine, bona fide academic fraud.”[107]  In an April 22, 2002, press release by Gun Owners of America, Roger Lane, who praised the book in his Journal of American History review, said, “I’m mad at the guy.  He suckered me.  It is entirely clear to me that he’s made up a lot of these records.  He’s betrayed us.  He’s betrayed the cause. . . .  Its 100 percent clear that the guy is a liar and a disgrace to my profession.”[108] The Emory Wheel On the Web reported that Garry Wills “regrets having professionally associated himself with Bellesiles.”[109]  PBS’s ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre Host Russell Baker called Bellesiles “the Milli Vanilli of the academic community.”[110] 

Nevertheless, Bellesiles has his defenders.  Paul Finkelman told the Chicago Tribune, “In the end, I don’t think it matters if he cooked the data.”[111]  In the February 2003 issue of the OAH  Newsletter, The Nation’s Jon Wiener, Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, opined that the Emory committee, including Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a member of the current OAH Executive Board, “abdicated their intellectual responsibility” by allowing Emory and Bellesiles’s opponents to call the shots and that Bellesiles is a victim of ideology.[112]  Lee W. Formwalt, OAH Executive Director, believes that ambiguities in the controversy over Arming America have precluded its quick and easy resolution.[113]

Bellesiles resigned his position of 14 years at Emory effective December 31, 2002, stating that he could not continue teaching in a “hostile environment.”[114]  The National Endowment for the Humanities on May 21, 2002, asked Chicago’s Newberry Library to remove its name from the $30,000 NEH grant awarded to Bellesiles, who was spending his 2001-2002 sabbatical at the Library researching another book.[115]  In December 2002 Columbia University rescinded Bellesiles’s 2001 Bancroft Prize,[116] the first revocation in its almost 55-year history, and has asked for the return of the Prize’s accompanying $4,000 award.[117]  Alfred A. Knopf, which sold about 8,000 hardcovers and 60,000 paperbacks, announced in January 2003 that it has stopped publication of Arming America,[118] and will destroy any copies returned from bookstores.[119]  Bellesiles’s editor at Knopf, Jane Garrett, defends Bellesiles against the charge of fabrication and says that “he’s just a sloppy researcher.”

On the other hand, although the OAH discussed Bellesiles’s 1997 Binkley-Stephenson Award, it has decided not to rescind it.[120]  After considering the report of the Emory University committee that examined the allegations against Arming America, the OAH discussed at the Fall 2002 Executive Board Meeting in Baltimore how the controversy “raises larger questions about trust and integrity in the scholarly process” and decided to use the OAH Newsletter as a vehicle for the discussion of scholarly integrity, to discuss it at the 2003 Memphis and 2004 Boston Annual Meetings, and to ask the editors of the OAH’s Journal of American History to address it.[121]  At the April 3-6, 2003, OAH Annual Meeting “Social Justice and American History,” Paul Finkelman and Jon Wiener will host the Chat Room “Triggering Debate About Sources, Integrity, and the Craft of History” to discuss issues raised by the controversy over Arming America.[122]

As to the response of libraries, at least one is known to have withdrawn the book from its collection.  However, the Boston Public Library[123] has explicitly refused to do so, and in Washington, where the Bellevue Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is urging public libraries to withdraw the book[124], the King County (Seattle) Library System has publically declined to heed their advice. 

Only two reviewers to date have retracted their praise of the book in print.  John Wilson, editor of Christianity Today’s book review magazine, who had said that Bellesiles deserved a Pulitzer Prize,[125] retracted his favorable cover-story review, [126] which occasioned more letters than any other article in Books & Culture’s first five years.[127]  Michael Coblenz, an intellectual property attorney, rescinded his favorable review in the October 2002 issue of The Federal Lawyer.[128]  The controversy over Arming America has strengthened the “individual rights” position on the Second Amendment, has earned Bellesiles a place with Stephen E. Ambrose, Joseph K. Ellis, and Doris Kearns Goodwin in discussions of academic integrity, and has called into question the objectivity of academics,[129] publishers, reviewers,[130] the media,[131] and award committees, as well as the value of reviews and awards.  

[Part 2 of “A Record Enriched,” scheduled for the May 2003 issue of the Idaho Librarian, will conclude the discussion of the controversy over Arming America by suggesting how librarians might respond: viz. by placing a note in the library’s catalog record for the book which informs patrons about the book’s intellectual and historical context.]  

[1] Leo Reisberg, “Violence-Studies Program Takes Aim at Social Evils and Student Attitudes,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 November 1999, pp. A60-61.

[2] An Open Letter to the NRA, 27 March 2000, <> (12 February 2003).  An April 3, 2000, press release announcing the April 28 Chicago-Kent symposium on the Second Amendment <> (12 February 2003) quotes the second phrase from the letter.  The phrase is not, however, in the copy currently posted at LCAV’s site.  My e-mails to LCAV, to the Chicago-Kent College of Law, and to the NRA asking whether the letter had been changed since it was sent were unanswered at press time.

[3] New York Times, 27 March 2000, p. A21.

[4] “Symposium on the Second Amendment: Fresh Looks,” ed. Carl T. Bogus, Chicago-Kent Law Review 76 (2000), pp. 3-715; also available online 
at <> (12 February 2003).  The symposium papers were later published in The Second Amendment in Law and History: Historians and Constitutional Scholars on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, ed. Carl T. Bogus (New York: New Press, 2000).

[5] Michael A. Bellesiles, “The Origins of Gun Culture in the United States, 1760-1865,” Journal of American History 83 (1996), pp. 425-455.

[6] U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, 121st ed. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, 2001), p. 8.

[7] I thank Jim Jatkevicius of Boise Public Library for the photocopy of the dust jacket of Arming America.

[8] Garry Wills, A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), p. 29.

[9] Wills, A Necessary Evil, pp. 28-29, 31, 323.

[10] Garry Wills, “Spiking the Gun Myth,” New York Times Book Review, 10 September 2000, pp. 5-6.

[11] Edmund S. Morgan, “In Love with Guns,” The New York Review of Books, 19 October 2000, pp. 30-32.

[12] Dan Baum, “Targeting America’s Gun Culture,” Chicago Tribune, 3 September 2000, p. 14.1.

[13] Fred Anderson, “Guns, Rights and People,” Los Angeles Times Book Review, 17 September 2000, pp. 1-2.

[14] Richard Slotkin, “The Fall Into Guns,” The Atlantic Monthly, November 2000, pp. 114-118.

[15] Jackson Lears, “The Shooting Game,” The New Republic, 22 January 2001, pp. 30-36.

[16] “Gun-Running,” The Economist, 16 December 2000, p. 95.

[17] John Wilson, “Arming America,” Books & Culture, November/December 2000, pp. 36; Walter Wink, “Guns R Us?,” Christian Century, 21 March 2001, pp. 21, 23-25, 27, 29.

[18] Carl T. Bogus, “Learning to Love the Gun,” The American Prospect, 18 December 2000, p. 42.

[19] Kirkus Reviews, 15 July 2000; Publishers Weekly, 24 July 2000, p. 75; Book Magazine, November/December 2000.

[20] Mary Carroll, in Booklist, August 2000, p. 2083; Scott H. Silverman, in Library Journal, 1 October 2000, p. 124; J.A. Luckett, in Choice 38 (2001), p. 1135.

[21] An audio file of the 20-minute interview aired on Sept. 26, 2000,is available at Fresh Air’s web site: <> (12 February 2003).  NPR later reported on the controversy surrounding Arming America in a seven-minute story, “Historian Under Fire,” by Eric Westervelt on the March 4, 2002, program of Morning Edition; an audio file is available at <> (12 February 2003).

[22] An audio file of the 6-minute interview, held Nov. 13, 2000, is available at <> (12 February 2003).

[23] An audio file and transcript of the interview, held Aug. 21, 2001, are available at WNYC’s On the Media web site: <> (12 February 2003).

[24] James R. Petersen, “Arming America: When Did We Become a Gun Culture?,” Playboy, January 2001, pp. 69-73.

[25] The conference was entitled “The Second Amendment: History, Evidence, and the Constitution,” and was held April 20-21, 2001. For the announcement, see <> (12 February 2003).  A webcast of the conference, including Bellesiles’s keynote address, is available at <> (12 February 2003).

[26] “Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence—Day Two: Friday, September 21,” n.d., <> (12 February 2003)

[27] “Author to Speak at OH-Lancaster,” 25 September 2001, <> (12 February 2003)

[28] The lecture series commemorated “The 225th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence: America Then and Now.” See “Montana Committee for the Humanities Regrant Summary,” 7 January 2003, <> (12 February 2003)

[29] Roger Lane, in Journal of American History 88 (2001), pp. 614-615.

[30] Willard L. Hogeboom, in History: Reviews of New Books 28 (2000), p. 54.

[31] Daniel Justin Herman, “Gun Battles,” H-Net Reviews, May 2001, <> (12 February 2003).

[32] Matthew Warshauer, “Shooting From the Hip”: A Review of Arming America,Connecticut History 40 (2001), pp. 275-298.

[33] John Grenier, in Journal of Military History 65 (2001), pp. 1105-1106.

[34] Edward Countryman, foreword to Whose Right to Bear Arms Did the Second Amendment Protect?, ed. Saul Cornell, Historians at Work (Boston:  Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000), p. v.

[35] Michael Bellesiles, “Disarming Early American History,” Common-Place 1:1 (September 2000); available online at <> (12 February 2003).

[36] Paul Finkelman, “Taking Aim at an American Myth,” Michigan Law Review 99 (2001), pp. 1500-1519.

[37] Carl T. Bogus, “Shootout,” Texas Law Review 79 (2001), pp. 1641-1655.

[38] Ulrika Brand, “Three Authors Honored with Bancroft Prizes,” Columbia News, 17 April 2001, last modified 18 September 2002, <> (12 February 2003).

[39] “Guns in America: Arms and the Man,” The Economist, 3 July 1999, pp. 17-19.

[40] “Rewriting Firearmsand FreedomOut of History,” Guns & Ammo, November 1999, p. 37.  See Bellesiles’s response in the Emory University Office of University Communications’ Emory Report, 11 December 2000, <
> (12 February 2003).  Bellesiles wrote that Hestons remark was in the December 1999 issue of Guns & Ammo.  My thanks go to the Valley Branch of the Spokane County Library District for the correct citation.

[41] New York Times Book Review, 1 October 2000, p. 4.

[42] Michael A. Bellesiles, “In Search of Guns,” introduction to Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), pp. 3-16; “This work studies the absence of that which was thought to be eternally and universally present—an American gun culture—and its slow, and largely intended, emergence in the nineteenth century. . . .  There exists a fear of confronting the specifics of these cultural origins, for what has been made can be unmade” (p. 15).

[43] Michael A. Bellesiles, inter alia, “The Anglo-American Background to the Second Amendment,” Stanford Law School and the Stanford Humanities Center Conference “The Second Amendment: History, Evidence, and the Constitution,” 21 April 2001; announcement available online at <> (12 February 2003); webcast available online at <> (12 February 2003).

[44] Michael A. Bellesiles, “The Second Amendment in Action,” in The Second Amendment in Law and History: Historians and Constitutional Scholars on the Right to Bear Arms, ed. Carl T. Bogus (New York: New Press, 2000), pp. 48-73; originally published in Chicago-Kent Law Review 76 (2000), pp. 61-102.

[45] Michael A. Bellesiles, “Disarming the Critics,” OAH Newsletter 29:4 (November 2001), p. 6; also available online at <> (12 February 2003).

[46] “Gun Book Author Watching His Back,” Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom 50 (2001), p. 144.

[47] Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Resolution on Harassment of Michael Bellesiles, 5 May 2001, <
> (12 February 2003).

[48] “Council Decisions, June 2001, Perspectives Online, September 2001, <> (12 February 2003).

[49] The OAH statement is also available online: <> (12 February 2003).

[50] John Whiteclay Chambers, “Lock and Load,” Washington Post Book World, 29 October 2000, p. 2.

[51] Michael Allen, in Indiana Magazine of History 97 (2001), pp. 160-161; Robert H. Churchill, “Guns and the Politics of History,” Reviews in American History 29 (2001), pp. 329-337; K.R. Constantine Gutzman, in Pacific Northwest Quarterly 92 (2001), pp. 153-154; Robert L. O’Connell, in Armed Forces and Society 27:3 (Spring 2001), pp. 487-491; Samuel Watson, in The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 99 (2001), pp. 303-305; Bertram Wyatt-Brown, “Going Off Half-Cocked: A Review Essay of Arming America,Journal of Southern History 68 (2002), pp. 423-428.

[52] Clayton E. Cramer, “The Racist Roots of Gun Control,” Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy 4:2 (Winter 1995), pp. 17-25; Clayton E. Cramer, For the Defense of Themselves and the State: The Original Intent and Judicial Interpretation of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994); Clayton E. Cramer, Concealed Weapon Laws of the Early Republic: Dueling, Southern Violence, and Moral Reform (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999), based on Cramer’s 1998 Sonoma State University Master of Arts thesis.

[53] See, for example, Clayton E. Cramer, “Arming America: A Novel Rewrite of American History,” American Rifleman 149:1 (January 2001), pp. 66-69, 89.

[54] Clayton Cramer and David B. Kopel, “Disarming Errors,” National Review, 9 October 2000.

[55] Clayton E. Cramer, “Why Footnotes Matter: Checking Arming Americas Claims,” 2001, <> (12 February 2003).

[56] Clayton E. Cramer, “Gun Scarcity in the Early Republic?,” 19 November 2001, <> (12 February 2003).

[57] Clayton Cramers Web Page, n.d., <> (12 February 2003).

[58] Geoff Metcalf, “History Re-Written to Undermine Gun Rights?,” WorldNetDaily, May 20, 2001, <> (12 February 2003).  Cramer’s interview was published in Geoffrey M. Metcalf’s In the Arena: Geoff Metcalf Interviews With Doers of Deeds (iUniverse, 2002), pp. 347-361.

[59] David Wootton, “Disarming the English,” London Review of Books, 21 July 1994, pp. 20, 22; Eliga H. Gould, in English Historical Review 111 (1996), pp. 1290-1291; Robert E. Shalhope, in Journal of American History 82 (1995), pp. 209-210.

[60] Garry Wills, “To Keep and Bear Arms,” New York Review of Books, 42:14 (September 21, 1995), pp. 62-73.

[61]  Michael A. Bellesiles, in Law and History Review 14 (1996), pp. 382-384.

[62] Joyce Lee Malcolm, “Response to Bellesiles’s Review of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right,Law and History Review 15 (1997), pp. 339-341; Michael A. Bellesiles, “Reply to Malcolm,” Law and History Review 15 (1997), pp. 343-345.

[63] Joyce Lee Malcolm, “Concealed Weapons,” Reason, January 2001, pp. 47-49.

[64] Joyce Lee Malcolm, “Arming America,” Texas Law Review 79 (2001), pp. 1657-1676.

[65] Carl T. Bogus, “Shootout,” Texas Law Review 79 (2001), pp. 1641-1655.

[66] Geoff Metcalf, “Were the Colonists Gun-Haters?,” WorldNetDaily, 7 January 2001, <> (12 February 2003).  Malcolm’s interview is also published in Metcalf’s In the Arena, pp. 332-346.

[67] Joyce Lee Malcolm, Disarming History, Reason 34:10 (March 2003), pp. 22-29; I express my gratitude to Dylan McDonald of Boise State Universitys Albertsons Library for calling this article to my attention and faxing a copy to me.

[68] Sam McManis, “A History Lesson for Historian: Archivist Refutes Claims of Prize-Winning Author,” San Francisco Chronicle, 2 March 2002, p. A19.

[69] James Lindgren and Justin L. Heather, “Counting Guns in Early America,” William and Mary Law Review 43 (2002), pp. 1777-1842.

[70] James Lindgren, “Fall from Grace: Arming America and the Bellesiles Scandal,” The Yale Law Journal 111 (2002), pp. 2195-2249. 

[71] An audio file of the forum is available at WBEZ’s web site: <> (12 February 2003).

[72] NDLS Update 11:9 (April 2002), p. 7; also available online at <> (12 February 2003).

[73] Bellesiles, “Disarming the Critics,” p. 6.

[74] Michael A. Bellesiles, "Probate Records as an Historical Source," n.d., <> (12 February 2003).  Bellesiless web site is at <> (12 February 2003).

[75] Andrew Ackerman, “E-Mails My Include Lies,” Emory Wheel, 25 April 2002, <> (12 February 2003); “Bellesiles Insinuates Professor Forged E-Mails in His Name,” Emory Wheel, 25 April 2002, <> (12 February 2003).

[76] Bellesiles, “Disarming the Critics,” pp. 3, 6.

[77] Bellesiles, “Disarming the Critics,” pp. 3, 6.

[78] Betty Maffei, “Notes on Supposed San Francisco Records in the Contra Costa County Historical Society History Center,” 27 January 2002, <> (12 February 2003).

[79] Andrew Ackerman, “History Chair Apologizes for Bellesiles Controversy,” Emory Wheel, 1 March 2002, <> (12 February 2003).

[80] Sam McManis, "A History Lesson for Historian: Archivist Refutes Claims of Prize-Winning Author," San Francisco Chronicle, 2 March 2002, p. A19; also available online at <> (12 February 2003).

[81] “Forum: Historians and Guns,” The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, 59 (2002), pp. 203-268; a copy of the Forum is available online at the web site of the History Cooperative for those with subscriptions to the American Historical Association’s American Historical Review or the OAH’s Journal of American History: <> (12 February 2003).

[82] Jack N. Rakove, preface to Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), p. xiii.

[83] Jack N. Rakove, “Words, Deeds, and Guns: Arming America and the Second Amendment,”  pp. 205-210.

[84] Gloria L. Main, “Many Things Forgotten: The Use of Probate Records in Arming America,” pp. 211-216.

[85] Ira D. Gruber, “Of Arms and Men: Arming America and Military History,” pp. 217-222.

[86] Randolph Roth, “Guns, Gun Culture, and Homicide: The Relationship Between Firearms, the Uses of Firearms, and Interpersonal Violence,” pp. 223-240.

[87] Michael A. Bellesiles, “Exploring America’s Gun Culture,” pp. 241-268.

[88] Emory University, “Policies and Procedures for Investigation of Misconduct in Research, 2 March 1989, <>” (12 February 2003).

[89] American Historical Association, “Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct,” February 2002, with online emendations in January 2003, <> (12 February 2003).

[90] Report of the Investigative Committee in the Matter of Professor Michael Bellesiles, 10 July 2002, <> (12 February 2003). The committee included Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Harvard’s James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History and Director of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, as well as 1991 Bancroft Prize winner, and Princeton Professor of History Stanley N. Katz, a signer of the NRA letter.

[91] Elizabeth Farrell, “Shooting From the Hip?,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 September 2001, p. A18; Jennifer K. Ruark, “Emory Asks Historian to Defend His Book on Guns in America,” 12 October 2001, p. A19; Danny Postel, “Scholar Issues Defense of His History of Guns in America,” 16 November 2001, p. A19; Florence Olsen, “Historian Resigns After Report Questions His Gun Research,” 8 November 2002, p. A17.

[92] Michael A. Bellesiles, “Exploding the Myth of an Armed America,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 29 September 2000, pp. B7-10.

[93] Danny Postel, “Did the Shootouts Over ‘Arming America’ Divert Attention From the Real Issues?,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 1 February 2002, pp. A12-15.

[94] “Disarming Bellesiles, VitalSTATS, January 2002, <> (12 February 2003); Mehegan won the 2001 Dubious Data Debunking Award from the Statistical Assessment Service, a Washington, D.C., non-partisan and non-profit research organization “devoted to the accurate use of scientific and social research in public policy debate.”

[95] David Mehegan, “New Doubts About Gun Historian Research to Receive Hard Critique Today,” The Boston Globe, 11 September 2001, p. A1; “University Asks Historian to Defend His Research on Gun Ownership Book,” 3 October 2001, p. C6; “Bellesiles Responds to Critics of His Book,” 13 November 2001, p. F3; “Historians Criticize Author’s Gun Research,” 29 January 2002, p. E3; “Emory Opens its Inquiry into Historian,” 8 February 2002, p. C13; “Emory Steps Up Probe of Historian,” 26 April 2002, p. C4; “NEH and Newberry Disagree on Bellesiles Grant,” 24 May 2002, p. D2; “Prize-Winning Historian’s Book Research Under Scrutiny,” 23 August 2002, p. C2; “With Research in Question, Emory Historian Resigns Post,” 26 October 2002, p. C1; “Bellesiles’s History Prize Rescinded,” 16 December 2002, p. B9.

[96] Jen Sansbury, “Scholar Under Heavy Fire for Book on Gun Culture,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 20 January 2002, p. F1; “Emory Challenges Accuracy for Professor’s Book on Guns,” 8 February 2002, p. D1; “Emory Professor’s Book ‘Biased’, Peers say,” 10 February 2002, p. C1; “Fiery Author, Teacher Has Unsure Future With Emory,” 20 April 2002, p. H4; “Emory Widens Probe of Book Panel to Check Professor’s Work,” 26 April 2002, p. D1; “Fellowship Awarded Professor Is Reviewed,” 2 May 2002, p. D7; “Author Loses Grant Name, Keeps Funds,” 23 May 2002, p. C3; “Emory Author Won’t Be in Class,” 23 August 2002, p. D9; “Emory Professor Repeals Finding of Probe,” 26 September 2002, p. C3.

[97] Robert Stacy McCain, “Author Under Fire on Accuracy of Gun Research,” Washington Times, 1 January 2002, p. A1; “NEH Halts Backing for Gun Historian’s Grant,” 22 May 2002, p. A5; “Emory Continues Probe of ‘Arming America’ Author,” 23 August 2002, p. A3; “Professor Quits in Probe of Gun Book,” 28 October 2002, p. A1; “Columbia Feels Heat From Gun Groups Over Bancroft Prize,” 30 October 2002, p. A10; “Discredited Volume on U.S. Gun Culture Going Out of Print,” 10 January 2003, p. A7.

[98] Ron Grossman, “Wormy Apples From the Groves of Academe,” Chicago Tribune, 23 January 2002, p. C1; “Emory Can Wait No Longer,” 13 February 2002, p. C5; “NEH Pulls Support for Author at Newberry Library,” 22 May 2002, p. C2; “Despite Attacks on His Scholarship, Professor Defends Gun History Book,” 20 November 2002, p. C1.

[99] Kimberley Strassel, “Scholars Take Aim at Gun History,” Wall Street Journal, 9 April 2001, p. A28; “Guns and Poses,” 22 February 2002, p. A14; “A Gun Battle Is Over,” 1 November 2002, p. W15.

[100] Wall Street Journal, 24 April 2001, p. A25.

[101] Alexander Cockburn, “The Year of the Yellow Notepad,” The Nation, 8 April 2002, p. 8; Jon Wiener, “Fire at Will: How the Critics Shot Up Michael Bellesiles’s book Arming America,” 4 November 2002, pp. 28-32; “Update on Arming America,” 25 November 2002, p. 35.

[102] David Skinner, “The Historian Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” 25 February 2002, p. 31; “Setting the Missing Records Straight,” 17 May 2002; “The Cowards of Academe,” 10 June 2002, p. 21.

[103] Melissa Seckora, “Disarming America: A Prize-Winning Historian and His Gun Myths,” National Review, 15 October 2001, pp. 50, 53-54.

[104] Melissa Seckora, “Disarming America, Part II,” National Review Online, 26 November 2001, <> (12 February 2003); “Disarming America, Part III,” National Review Online, 29 January 2002, <> (12 February 2003); “Bellesiles Is Out,” National Review Online, 28 October 2002 <> (12 February 2003).

[105] The Emory Wheel On the Web, n.d., <> (12 February 2003).

[106] History News Network, n.d., <> (12 February 2003)

[107] Grossman, “Wormy Apples From the Groves of Academe,” p. 5.1.

[108] Gun Owners of America, “1987 Winner of Bancroft Prize Believes This Prestigious Award Will Be Taken Back From Michael A. Bellesiles, Author of Arming America,” 22 April 2002, <> (12 February 2003).

[109] Sarah Mendola, “Organizations Will Consider Taking Away Bellesiles’ Awards,” Emory Wheel, 19 November 2002, <> (12 February 2003).

[110] McCain, “Author Under Fire on Accuracy of Gun Research,” p. A1.

[111] Grossman, “Wormy Apples From the Groves of Academe,” p. 5.1.

[112] Jon Wiener, “Emory’s Bellesiles Report: A Case of Tunnel Vision,” OAH Newsletter, 31:1 (February 2003), p. 7, 9; also available online at <> (12 February 2003).  See also the comment on Wiener by Jerome Sternstein, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Professor Emeritus of History, “Shooting the Messenger: Jon Wiener on Arming America,History News Network, 28 October 2002, <> (12 February 2003).

[113] Lee W. Formwalt, “Bellesiles, OAH, and the Profession,” OAH Newsletter 31:1 (February 2003), p. 7, 10; also available online at <> (12 February 2003).

[114] Mehegan, “With Research in Question, Emory Historian Resigns Post,” p. C1; “Author of Gun History Quits After Panel Faults Research, New York Times, 27 October 2002; McCain, “Professor Quits in Probe of Gun Book,” Washington Times, p. A1; Strassel, “A Gun Battle Is Over,” p. W15.

[115] Jacqueline Trescott, “Book Flap Prompts NEH to Pull Name From Fellowship,” Washington Post, 22 May 2002, p. C3; Jacqueline Trescott, “Library Defends Process of Picking NEH Fellow,” Washington Post, 25 May 2002, p. C3; Bruce Cole, Statement of Chairman Bruce Cole on Newberry Library Fellowship Award,” 21 May 2002, <> (12 February 2003); Charles T. Cullen, The Newberry Library Responds to Recent NEH Criticism,” 24 May 2002, <> (12 February 2003).

[116] “Columbia’s Board of Trustees Votes to Rescind the 2001 Bancroft Prize,” Columbia News, 16 December 2002, <> (12 February 2003).

[117] “Prize for Book Is Taken Back From Historian,” New York Times, 14 December 2002, p. C4; “Guns and Prizes,” Wall Street Journal, 19 December 2002, p. A14. 

[118] McCain, “Discredited Volume on U.S. Gun Culture Going Out of Print,” p. A7. 

[119] Boston Globe, 10 January 2003, p. D2.

[120] Formwalt, “Bellesiles, OAH, and the Profession, p. 7, 10.

[121] “Fall 2002 OAH Executive Board Meeting: Baltimore, Maryland,” OAH Newsletter 31:1 (February 2003), p. 15; also available online at <> (12 February 2003).

[122] Formwalt, “Bellesiles, OAH, and the Profession,” p. 7, 10; the OAH 2003 Annual Meeting Program is available online at < (12 February 2003).

[123] Boston Globe, 10 January 2003, p. D2.

[124] Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, “CCRKBA Calls Upon Libraries to Remove Discredited Bellesiles Book From Shelves,” 3 January 2003, <> (12 February 2003).

[125] John Wilson, “The 10 Best Books of 2000,” Christianity Today online, 3 January 2001, <> (12 February 2003).

[126] John Wilson, “Arming America,” Books & Culture 6:5 (September/October 2000), pp. 36; also available online at <> (12 February 2003);  “The Scandal of Arming America,” Books & Culture 8:1 (January/February 2002), pp. 4-5; also available online at <> (12 February 2003).

[127] “Letters,” Books & Culture 6:6 (November/December 2000), p. 3; also available online at <> (12 February 2003).

[128] Michael Coblenz, “Reassessment,” The Federal Lawyer 49:9 (October 2002), pp. 51, 53, 55. 

[129] “A Scholarly Crime Wave,” The Wilson Quarterly 26:2 (Spring 2002), pp. 83-84; Francine Fialkoff, “Rampant Plagiarism,” Library Journal, 15 March 2002, p. 70; Jay Ambrose, “Historians Eager to Bite Anti-Gun Line,” New Haven Register, 6 November 2002.

[130] Karen Sandstrom, “Taking a More Skeptical Look at Nonfiction Book Reviews,” Plain Dealer, 23 December 2001, p. J11.

[131] Michael Korda, “Loaded Words,” Brill’s Content, February 2001, pp. 50-54.