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Friday, July 27, 2018

Historian and Philosopher Will Durant | Arts and Culture - Seton Hall University News & Events

"Will Durant was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Pulitzer Prize; he was both a faculty member and a student at Seton Hall" explains Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations.
Photo: Seton Hall University News & Events

The author of 53 books during his lifetime, Durant is best known for The Story of Philosophy and the 11 volume set, The Story of Civilization, which he produced with his wife, Ariel. 

Written in a manner designed to make the subject matter accessible to everyday people or "the common man," the books were extremely popular. His first, The Story of Philosophy, sold 3,000,000 copies and made The New York Times best seller list. 

Published between 1935 and 1975, The Story of Civilization "sought to unify and humanize the great body of historical knowledge."

It was also a best-seller. As noted by The New York Times in Durant's 1981 obituary: "Rousseau and Revolution, which won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 1968 and was a Book-of-the-Month Club choice, was a best-seller, as were the 10 other volumes. This meant total sales of more than two million copies in nine languages, a readership enjoyed by few historians."...

At Seton Hall   
William Durant graduated from St. Peter's College in Jersey City and is said to have "devoured every book he could," becoming "a fixture at the Newark and Jersey City Public Libraries."

After St. Peter's, Durant took a job as a reporter with the New York Evening Journal. His parish priest and confidant, Monsignor James Mooney, had become rector of the seminary and President of Seton Hall. Soon thereafter, Durant came to live on campus, where he entered the seminary and taught Latin, French and geometry in the college while also serving as librarian – a position he relished given his unfettered, everyday access to "the stacks" and the pageant of great minds contained within their pages.

Source: Seton Hall University News & Events