Bachelor, George Washington University, 1949. Doctor of Philosophy, Harvard, 1953. Master of Arts, Amherst College, 1960.
Doctor of Letters, Franklin and Marshall College, 1970. Bachelor of Laws, Union College, 1975.
Teaching fellow Harvard University, 1950. From instructor to Mellon professor humanities Amherst (Massachusetts) College, 1951—2005. Columnist Harper's, 1962—1964, 1990—2005, American Scholar, 1962-1964, Atlantic Monthly, 1973-1980.
Professor Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1962. Fulbright professor Birmingham (England) University, 1965. Visiting professor Utah University, 1966, Yale, 1968-1970.
Writer National Educational television, 1964. Also consultant; member Columbia Seminar American Civilization. Consultant Department Education, Carnegie Commission on Future Public Broadcasting.
Consultant Society Magazine Writers, National Institute Education, New York State Arts Council, National Endowment for Arts, American Council Learned Societies, Council Graduate Schools, Danforth, Rockefeller founds. Aspen Institute Education department Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Executive committee Teachers and Writers Collaborative, New York City.
Seminar director National Endowment for Humanities, 1973-1974, 76-77, 78-79.
Board academy advisers Marlboro College, 1963-1965. Member Presidential Advisory Council Women's Educational Programs, 1975-1976, Governor's Council Arts and Humanities, 1974-1977. Board directors Massachusetts Foundation Humanities in Public Affairs, 1974–2005.
Member executive board Federation Humanities Programs, 1979–2005. Trustee National Humanities Faculty. Member selection committee Guggenheim Foundation, 1975-1989.
Member Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists association, National Book Critics Circle, Modern Language Association, Phi Beta Kappa. Clubs: Century.
Son of D. Gerard and Janet (Sanders) democratic. Married Margaret Jane Craig, June 22, 1946. Children– Joel, Thomas, Benjamin, Megan.