Published on April 3, 2020 by Sean Flynt  
History Department Chair Jonathan Den Hartog
History Department Chair Jonathan Den Hartog

Samford University history department chair Jonathan Den Hartog has received a highly competitive grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grant, which funds two months of summer research, went to only 11% of applicants this year.

Den Hartog joined Samford’s faculty in 2019, bringing with him a distinguished reputation for scholarship in American political and religious history. His most recent book, Disestablishment and Religious Dissent: Church-State Relations in the New American States, 1776-1833, has been hailed as a key resource for the study of early church-state relations. His NEH proposal remains in that critical period of American history, exploring the life of one of the nation’s founders.

“John Jay of New York is one of the most consequential, yet under-appreciated members of the American founding generation,” Den Hartog wrote in his proposal for the grant. “His greatest contribution lay in his demonstration of statesmanship at critical moments for the new nation—when it was trying to secure independence, when it was considering the proposed 1787 Constitution, when it needed a framework for a judiciary, and when it demanded strategic diplomacy for world affairs.”

Den Hartog said the NEH grant will support ongoing work on a new book, John Jay: Founding Statesman, which he hopes to complete in the next year. The summer work will explore Jay’s formative education, diplomacy and views on law.

Linnea Minnema, Samford’s director of grants and sponsored programs, emphasized the rarity of Den Hartog’s honor. Only Ginger Frost, university research professor of history, has earned the grant in recent decades (in 2000 and 2009). “This is a very significant accomplishment and I'm thrilled for Dr. Den Hartog," Minnema said. “This is another example of Samford faculty making a mark nationally with their research and scholarship.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.