Dr. William Kerrigan publishes new book on Johnny Appleseed
Professor of American History Dr. William Kerrigan has published a new book, Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard A Cultural History. Published
by The Johns Hopkins University Press, the book is available from the
Muskingum University bookstore and from Amazon. It illuminates the
meaning of Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman’s life and the environmental and
cultural significance of the plant he propagated.
Creating what has been described as “a startling
new portrait of the eccentric apple tree planter,” Dr. Kerrigan
carefully dissects the oral tradition of the Appleseed myth and draws
upon material from archives and local historical societies across New
England and the Midwest.
Dr. Kerrigan joined the Muskingum University
faculty in 1997 and today is the university’s Arthur G. Cole and Eloise
Barnes Cole Distinguished Professor of American History. He earned his
bachelor’s degree from Austin College, his master’s degree from Texas
Christian University and his doctoral degree from the University of
In 2004, Dr. Kerrigan earned the Ohio Academy of
Teaching Award, for which he was nominated by his fellow Muskingum
University faculty members. In 2007, he earned Muskingum’s Cora I. Orr
Award for Faculty Service. In 2011, he received the William Oxley
Thompson Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s highest
honor for teaching.
In 2008, Dr. Kerrigan was named “Person of the Year” by the editorial staff of the Daily and Sunday Jeffersonian newspaper, for his support of a wide range of community initiatives.
At Muskingum, Dr. Kerrigan teaches a variety of
courses in American history. His research interests are in the
antebellum and civil war eras, as well as in American cultural and
environmental history. He has directed several oral history projects,
including Reclaiming Our Heritage, an oral and visual history of the impact of strip-mining on several communities in Appalachian Ohio.
In addition to his work in the classroom, Dr. Kerrigan and his students have published three regional history books: A Pictorial History of the Salt Fork Region, Cambridge, Ohio and A Pictorial History of Muskingum College. He
also serves as the university’s archivist, and led the effort to help
Muskingum celebrate its 175th anniversary (see story below).
In the community, Dr. Kerrigan was instrumental
in bringing the nationally recognized Ohio Chautauqua to New Concord for
the first time in that event’s history. He has also served on the Board
of Trustees of the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site, and the New
Concord Area Planning Task Force, in addition to his work as an
outdoorsman and kayak instructor with the New Concord Area Arts and