Richard Norton Smith
Book Speaker
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Richard Norton Smith

Fee Range1: $ 8000 - $12000

Presidential Historian


American LegendsAuthorHistoryLeadershipThe PresidencyWhite House


Washington, DC


Richard Norton Smith

Richard Norton SmithPresidential Historian

“There’s no excuse for a dull book, a dull museum, or a dull speech,” says Richard Norton Smith.  “Especially when dealing with history – the most fascinating subject I know.” His unstuffy approach to the past, combined with his trademark humor, flavors the commentary he provides regularly on C-SPAN and The Newshour With Jim Lehrer.

Born in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1953, Mr. Smith graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1975 with a degree in government. Following graduation he worked as a White House intern and as a free lance writer for The Washington Post. After being employed as a speech writer for Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke, he went to work for Senator Bob Dole, with whom he has collaborated on numerous projects over the years.

Mr. Smith’s first major book, Thomas E. Dewey and His Times, was a finalist for the 1983 Pulitzer Prize. He has also written An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover (1984), The Harvard Century: The Making of a University to a Nation (1986) and Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation (1993). In June 1997, Houghton Mifflin published Mr. Smith’s The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, which received the prestigious Goldsmith Prize awarded by Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, and has been described by Hilton Kramer as “the best book ever written about the press.” Currently Mr. Smith is at work on a biography of Nelson Rockefeller, a massive project involving thousands of pages of newly available documents, as well as more than 150 interviews with Rockefeller associates.

Between 1987 and 2001, Mr. Smith served as Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa; the Dwight D. Eisenhower Center in Abilene, Kansas; the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and the Reagan Center for Public Affairs in Simi Valley, California; and the Gerald R. Ford Museum and Library in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, Michigan respectively.

At each of the libraries he contributed to significantly higher public visitation through major temporary exhibits, imaginative public programs, and educational outreach efforts. In addition to expanding and renovating the Hoover Library, Mr. Smith overhauled the permanent exhibitions at Hoover, Reagan and Ford. In 1990 he organized the Eisenhower Centennial on behalf of the National Archives.

To book this speaker please visit or call 508.485.8996