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Dr. William Kerrigan publishes new book on Johnny Appleseed

JOHNNY APPLESEEDProfessor 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 Michigan. 

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.

DR. WILLIAM KERRIGANIn 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 Recreation District.