Stephan Thernstrom is the Winthrop Research Professor of History at Harvard University where he teaches American social history. He was born in Port Huron, Michigan and educated in the public schools of Port Huron and Battle Creek. He graduated with highest honors from Northwestern University in 1956, and was awarded the Ph.D. by Harvard in 1962.
He has held appointments as assistant professor at Harvard, associate professor at Brandeis University, and professor at UCLA before returning to Harvard as a professor in 1973. In 1978-1979 he was the Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University and Professorial Fellow at Trinity College.
His most recent book, co-authored with Abigail Thernstrom, is No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning (2003), was the winner of the 2007 Fordham Prize for Distinguished Scholarship. He is also the editor of the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, and the author of Poverty and Progress: Social Mobility in a Nineteenth-Century City; Poverty, Politics, and Planning in the New Boston; The Origins of ABCD; The Other Bostonians; Poverty and Progress in the American Metropolis, 1880-1970; and a two-volume survey, A History of the American People.