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James Thomas Flexner
""James Thomas Flexner.jpg
Born (1908-01-13)January 13, 1908
"New York, "New York
Died February 13, 2003(2003-02-13) (aged 95)
New York City
Occupation Writer
Period 1937–1996
Genre History, biography
Spouse Beatrice Hudson Flexner
Children Helen Flexner

James Thomas Flexner (January 13, 1908 – February 13, 2003) was an American historian and biographer best known for the four-volume biography of "George Washington that earned him a "National Book Award "in Biography[1] and a special "Pulitzer Prize.[2][3] His one-volume abridgment, Washington: the Indispensable Man (1974) was the basis of two television miniseries broadcast in the mid-1980s starring "Barry Bostwick as Washington.[3][4]



James Thomas Flexner was born January 13, 1908 in "Manhattan. His father was "Simon Flexner, a sixth-grade dropout who became a self-taught microbiologist, pathologist, director of the "Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City and discoverer of a cure for "spinal meningitis. His mother was Helen Thomas [Flexner], a professor of English at "Bryn Mawr whose sister was president of the college.[3][5] In 1929, Flexner graduated "cum laude from "Harvard University, and found work as a reporter for the "New York Herald Tribune. In 1931, he took a position at the "New York City Department of Health as an executive secretary. The following year, he left his job to devote his full energies to writing. Although untrained in art history, he gravitated to art subjects as part of his interest in writing about American history.[5]

Flexner is known best for George Washington, a four-volume biography published by "Little, Brown from 1965 to 1972. He won a "special Pulitzer Prize for the work in 1973.[2] He wrote other historical biographies, including The Young Hamilton (on "Alexander Hamilton), Mohawk Baronet (on "Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet), and The Traitor and the Spy: "Benedict Arnold and "John André. He wrote many books on the history of American art, including a highly regarded life of the American painter "John Singleton Copley. He and his father, Simon Flexner, M.D., co-wrote William Henry Welch and the Heroic Age of American Medicine (1941). (His uncle, Abraham Flexner, was the educator whose 1910 report led to the reform of United States medical schools.)

James Thomas Flexner died February 13, 2003 at his apartment in New York City at the age of 95.[3]



  1. ^ "National Book Awards – 1973". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Special Awards and Citations". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Martin, Douglas. "James Thomas Flexner, Washington Biographer, 95, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  4. ^ Oliver, Myrna. "James Flexner, 95; Acclaimed Biographer of George Washington". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "James Thomas Flexner". Dictionary of Art Historians. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  6. ^ "James Thomas Flexner (1908–2003)". Library Thing. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 

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