Bachelor, Vanderbilt University, 1957. Bachelor, Oxford University, England, 1959. Master of Arts, Oxford University, England, 1968.
Doctor of Philosophy, Yale University, 1965.
Instructor history Yale University, New Haven, 1963-1966, assistant professor history, 1966-1970. Associate professor history Grinnell (Iowa) College, 1970-1975, professor history, 1975—2006, L.F. Parker professor history, 2000—2005, professor emeritus history, since 2006. Visiting professor history Nanjing University, China, since 1993.
Presidential elector State of Iowa, 1992. Member North America Conference British Studies, Fortnightly Club (president 1988-1989).
Son of and Frances Ellen Higgins.