- PhD, Harvard University, 2008
BA, Carleton College, 2002
Michael David Cohen is a research professor in the Department of Government and a faculty fellow in the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (CCPS) at American University. A historian of nineteenth-century America, he serves as editor and project director of the Correspondence of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore. This project at CCPS aims to locate and publish letters of the twelfth and thirteenth US presidents.
As the final editor of the James K. Polk Project at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Dr. Cohen in 2019 completed a decades-long endeavor to publish the eleventh president’s letters. Earlier he worked at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, on the Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
Besides three volumes of the Correspondence of James K. Polk (2013–21), Dr. Cohen edited James K. Polk and His Time: Essays at the Conclusion of the Polk Project (2022). His articles on the history of US politics, education, and society and on the editing of historical documents have appeared in journals including The New England Quarterly and The Good Society. His book Reconstructing the Campus: Higher Education and the American Civil War (2012) won the Critics’ Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association and the Linda Eisenmann Prize from the History of Education Society. He appeared in a radio documentary about Sarah Childress Polk, the president’s wife, on the Voice of America, and delivered the Annual Presidential Lecture in 2016 (on Polk) and 2022 (on Taylor and Fillmore) at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
The Correspondence of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore
Editor and Project Director
Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies