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Daniel Robert Woolf (born 5 December 1958) is a British/Canadian historian. He is the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, a position to which he was appointed in January 2009 and took up as of 1 September 2009.[1] He was previously Professor, Department of History and Classics, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts until April 2009. He was reappointed to a second term (to 2019) early in 2013.

Academic career

Daniel Woolf graduated from St. Paul's High School, Winnipeg, in 1976. He received a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in History from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario in 1980, and received a D.Phil. in Modern History from Oxford University in 1983, where he was supervised by the distinguished historian of seventeenth-century England and Master of St Peter's College, Oxford, Gerald Aylmer. Along with historians John Morrill and Paul Slack, Woolf would eventually co-edit the festschrift honouring Aylmer (1993). Among Woolf's contemporaries at St Peter's was David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. Woolf was appointed an honorary fellow of St Peter's in 2009.

Woolf returned to Canada in 1984 and taught at Queen's University as a SSHRCC postdoctoral fellow (1984–86), Bishop's University (1986–87), Dalhousie University (1987–1999), McMaster University (1999–2002), and the University of Alberta.[2] He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Society of Antiquaries of London, and the Royal Historical Society.[2] In 1996–97 he was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, a class that included noted sociologist of science Thomas F. Gieryn, anthropologist Kay Warren, and cognitive scientist Mark Turner. Woolf's major areas of research are in Tudor and Stuart British history and the history of historiography both in Britain and globally.

Administrative career

Woolf's administrative career began as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie (1998–99), a period including six months as Acting Dean of that Faculty. In 1999 he moved to McMaster University, serving for three years as Dean of its Faculty of Humanities. In 2002, he was appointed Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta, succeeding Kenneth Norrie, who had recently become McMaster's Provost. Woolf was reappointed in 2007, and commenced his second term in 2008 following a year's administrative leave during which he returned to his research.

Appointments and Boards

Woolf is a member of the board of directors of Historica (formerly the Historica-Dominion Institute (2012– )) and a past member of the Royal Society of Canada Executive Committee (2012–15 ).

Personal life

Born in London, England, but raised in Winnipeg,[1] Woolf is a dual citizen of Canada and the United Kingdom.[2] His parents were the late Cyril I. Woolf (1930–2012), an otolaryngologist and the late Margaret M. Woolf, a former part-time university instructor in English literature. His uncle is historian Stuart Woolf, and his younger brother is Vancouver-based architect Jeremy Woolf.

Woolf is married to Julie Anne Gordon-Woolf, a health sciences administrator and professional harpist. He has three children from a previous marriage to political science professor Jane Arscott, Sarah (b 1989), Samuel (b 1990) and David (b 1993).[2]


  • The Idea of History in Early Stuart England, University of Toronto Press 1990
  • (co-ed., with John Morrill and Paul Slack) Public Duty and Private Conscience in Seventeenth-Century England, Oxford University Press 1993
  • (co-ed., with T.F. Mayer) Rhetorics of Life-Writing in Early Modern Europe, University of Michigan Press, 1995
  • (ed.) A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing, Garland, 1998
  • Reading History in Early Modern England, Cambridge University Press, 2000
  • (co-ed., with Adam Fox) The Spoken Word: Oral Culture in Britain 1500–1850, Manchester University Press, 2002
  • The Social Circulation of the Past, Oxford University Press, 2003
  • (co-ed., with Norman L. Jones) Local Identities in Late Medieval and Early Modern England, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007
  • A Global History of History, Cambridge University press, 2011
  • The Oxford History of Historical Writing, (general editor), 5 vols, Oxford University Press, 2011–12