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Which Historians Have the Most Followers on Twitter?

Twitter: land of hashtagged manifestos, political asbestos, picturesque homages and memes wrapped in sugar-coated barbed wire. Or someone talking about how they're walking their dog or doing trivial things. A world that can make or break politicians, sportsmen and movie stars--or allow a casual, everyday person to express himself to an army of willing witnesses. A place where your followers are your brothers and sisters in arms, loyal enlistees of a similar calling. They log on to read your input, to soak in your breakdowns, and occasionally, to listen to your rants. They receive the messages your soul sings until you travel over to the next world, (Instagram Purgatory).

They'll follow you to the end... of your tweets!

Among this baby blue landscape, a handful of steadfast historians strive to remind us on a daily basis that the past repeats itself, and always will--unless we start paying attention to their newsfeeds. Here are Twitter's top active historians along with some interesting information about what they are tweeting about.

Follow the History News Network at @MyHNN for more, or to drop a suggestion for a historian we may have not listed.

Michael Beschloss @BeschlossDC


Here Americans arrive at Normandy beachhead day after D-Day, 70 years ago: #NARA pic.twitter.com/pf2vw6rWjO

— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) June 7, 2014

A presidential historian and the author of nine books, Beschloss uses Twitter to educate the public on American history. If you put all of the items he posts together, it's almost like a black and white war movie unfolding before your eyes. He joined in late 2012 and already has 106,000 followers.

Dan Snow @thehistoryguy


My Dad roaring Aeschylus in a Greek theatre. He has a high embarrassment threshold.pic.twitter.com/SqAFZARITH

— Dan Snow (@thehistoryguy) June 18, 2014

A BBC broadcaster and historian, Dan spends his days on Twitter waging World War I rap battles, and recently he tweeted a picture of his father in the middle of a Greek theater. Socrates would beam with exuberant pride.

Diane Ravitch @DianeRavitch


New Group Called “Democrats for Public Education” Will Fight Privatization http://t.co/PtLm7qwf5d

— Diane Ravitch (@DianeRavitch) July 13, 2014

An American historian, Diane Ravitch turned from promoter of charter schools to opponent.  She frequently blogs against Common Core.  

Ramachandra Guha @Ram_Guha


Gandhi on his travels through India, Jan-May, 1915: 'I see much to dishearten me and I see much to encourage me.' He'd say the same today..

— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) June 6, 2014

India-born writer, historian and columnist Ramachandra Guha uses Twitter to comment on Asian politics as well as various world issues. His first name is also pretty cool.

Niall Ferguson @nfergus


I apologize deeply and unreservedly for stupid and tactless remarks about Keynes that I made on Thursday http://t.co/YLNeacvcuD

— Niall Ferguson (@nfergus) May 4, 2013

A British historian and professor of history at Harvard, Ferguson was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2004. He has only tweeted 185 times since June 2009 and he has attracted over 68,000 followers. He tweets about "the Great Degeneration," a book he authored about how institutions decay and economies die. Needless to say, he does have his cheery days.

Mary Beard  @wMaryBeard


Mary Beard is widely considered to be Great Britain's best-known classicist, a commentator on both the modern and the ancient world. She is a professor at Cambridge and classics editor of The Times Literary Supplement. When Mary isn't educating or researching, she's tweeting out highly interesting material, interviews, photographs and updates concerning her future appearances and historical lectures.

Zbigniew Brzezinski @zbig


Goodbye Democracy? Creeping material inequality is likely to become de facto legal inequality.

— ZbigniewBrzezinski (@zbig) May 9, 2014

This former U.S. National Security Advisor, professor of international relations and author of books on Russian and Cold War history tweets his latest opinions on foreign policy, some of which his expertise is undeniable in, and his interesting perspective will keep you coming back for more. His verbal jousts with Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" are particularly savory.

Liam Fisher @liamkfisher


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop

— Liam Fisher (@liamkfisher) June 25, 2014

This U.S. Army veteran and historian is constantly supplying his 32.6K followers with political and philosophical quotes about knowledge, life and human nature, especially messages from the Founding Fathers of the United States. Occasionally, someone like Aesop will appear as a point of reference. Aesop rocks.

Juan Cole @jricole


Juan Cole is a pioneer tweeter and blogger.  A professor at the University of Michigan, he writes about the Middle East and blogs and tweets constantly, helping put the news into historical perspective.   

Doris Kearns Goodwin @DorisKGoodwin


What fun for an historian #vanityfair #oscars2013 pic.twitter.com/7kBO5FHBGl

— Doris Kearns Goodwin (@DorisKGoodwin) February 25, 2013

This Pulitzer Prize winning author and presidential historian tweets about Abraham Lincoln's legacy, her grandkids at Red Sox baseball games, and pictures of her with movie stars at the Oscars. It's good to see that she's having a blast.

James Thorne @JamesThorne2


Today 1815: Battle of Waterloo: Napoleon is defeated by the forces of the Duke of Wellington & Gebhard von Blücher. pic.twitter.com/dGJpvKWgrG

— James Thorne (@JamesThorne2) June 18, 2014

James Thorne, a historian and classicist from the United Kingdom, is a sharp observer of daily modern history. When colorful paintings of Genghis Khan and The Battle of Waterloo appear on your newsfeed, they're likely to be from this chap.

Lucy Worsley @Lucy_Worsley


Dr. Lucy Worsley explores the royal wardrobes of British monarchs over the last 400 years in her new documentary, ‘Tales from the Royal Wardrobe' which can be watched on BBC Four. An English historian, curator and television presenter from South London, Lucy has a fine and passionate Twitter following. She prides herself on making history fun, engaging and stimulating for the mind, as well as for the eyes.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. @HenryLouisGates


Was the Author of The Three Musketeers a Black Man? http://t.co/D4b8fsE9qq via @TheRoot

— Henry Louis Gates Jr (@HenryLouisGates) June 9, 2014

Henry is the host of the PBS show "Finding Your Roots." He is also a professor at Harvard University and the director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. If you are looking for black history and civil rights, this is the man to follow. He also has constant updates about who's appeared on his show and how to find out about their genealogical roots and ancestry.

Matthew Ward @HistoryNeedsYou


#FranzFerdinand was a cruelly obsessive hunter. He became the prey 100 years ago today. #WW1 pic.twitter.com/1xFUeZkz7E

— Matthew Ward (@HistoryNeedsYou) June 28, 2014

For Matthew Ward, Twitter is almost like a full time job. He has over 145K tweets since 2010! The curator of a very interesting page, Matthew is tuned into the history of everything, and recently, Ramadan. By the time you are reading this, he will likely have already posted 500 new tweets on a fascinating subject.

William Dalrymple @DalrympleWill


Homo Sapiens arrived in Australia 45,000 BC and didn't get to Italy until 40,000BC. N and W Europe a very late chapter in humanity's history

— William Dalrymple (@DalrympleWill) June 18, 2014

William is a writer and historian with his finger on the pulse of the history of Afghanistan, having just written a book entitled Return of the King: The Battle of Afghanistan: 1839-42. He can be found tweeting about India, Britain, the Middle East, and general historic events of the world. The king has returned and he is here to stay.

Tom Holland @Holland_Tom


The ability of English commentators to see every aspect of global football through the prism of the Premiership is a thing of wonder...

— Tom Holland (@holland_tom) June 22, 2014

Tom Holland's feed brings a historian's eye to world news and international war reporting. He is unafraid of sharing his sense of humor as well as his uncut opinion on any given subject. Tom is also a die hard cricket fan.

Simon Schama @simon_schama


Taliban just as brutal and fanatical as Boko Haram in war against girls with books - the defining battle of our age.

— Simon Schama (@simon_schama) May 8, 2014

Simon is a man who is intimately attuned to World Cup soccer, English history and art. He pointedly criticizes antisemitic activities. Follow for a daily dose of humorous dialogue or a bold statement concerning global events. 

Deborah Harkness @DebHarkness




A professor of history at the University of Southern California, Deborah Harkness studies the history of science and medicine.  has been a student and scholar of history for the past twenty-eight years. She's a best selling author and a writer of historical fiction whose Twitter features an array of vampires, witches, and news about her novel, The Book of Life

Suzannah Lipscomb @sixteenthCgirl


I'm in a room with 17,000 human skeletons. City of the dead. @museumoflondon pic.twitter.com/kUKsynLeIe

— Suzannah Lipscomb (@sixteenthCgirl) May 28, 2014

An author, historian, broadcaster, award-winning academic and museum goer, Suzannah's Twitter features her collaborative work with Dan Snow, articles and information about her various appearances. She is currently writing a book on the lives of women in sixteenth-century France. Full of life in the city of the dead.

Blair LM Kelley @profblmkelley


Blair LM Kelley, Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University, is the author of Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson. She blogs about history, politics, social issues, and more.

William Jelani Cobb @jelani9


William Jelani Cobb is the Director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut.

Greg Jenner @greg_jenner


We built this city, We built this city on rock and roll, Hence the subsidence issue, And the Tesco Metro collapsing... ROCK AND ROLL!

— Greg Jenner (@greg_jenner) June 25, 2014

A self proclaimed nerd, curly-haired historian, and consultant to the UK's CBBC’s multi-award winning Horrible Histories, Greg is a rock music fan to the bone. When he's not jamming out to Master of Puppets by Metallica, you can find him retweeting historical pieces and breaking news stories from around the web.

Holly Tucker @history_geek


Felt like I was hallucinating in yoga tonight. Was it the 120 degree heat, the weird 80s soundtrack, or both??

— Holly Tucker (@history_geek) April 27, 2014

Vanderbilt University professor and medicine historian Holly Tucker tweets various articles and offers her philosophy on writing on her feed. Sometimes, she reflects on unintentionally psychadelic yoga saunas, as sampled above.

Justin Pollard @JustinPollard


Last of the potatoes harvested - mainly Blue Danube and Sarpo Axona pic.twitter.com/hTjxvMzcCP

— JustinPollard (@JustinPollard) October 12, 2013

Justin is the author of nine books, including Alfred the Great - the Man Who Made England and Secret Britain, and he's also the co-founder of Unbound, a crowdfunding publishing startup based out of Soho, London. When he's not tweeting about Vikings, he's tweeting about things related to Vikings. And freshly harvested potatoes. Hurrah!

Amanda Vickery @Amanda_Vickery


Made genuine friend at wedding. I have not lost it.

— Amanda Vickery (@Amanda_Vickery) June 24, 2014

Amanda is currently a professor of Early Modern History at Queen Mary at the University of London, and she is the author of Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England. She retweets tons of interesting articles and captions, sometimes about her personal adventures and realizations.

Andrea Zuvich @AndreaZuvich


In the supermarket here in Windsor and I hear a man whistle the tune of a Verdi opera. Yep I have found my home!

— Andrea Zuvich (@AndreaZuvich) June 27, 2014

Andrea is a 17th century historian and uses the Twitter platform to showcase her work and retweet related material about royal family dynasties, earls, courtesans, old classical paintings, and more. Something tells me she has an impeccable accent.

Bettany Hughes @Bettany_Hughes


The light was sweet for her, delight extended over her, she was full of fairest beauty. 2260BCE Enheduanna 1st known female poet #WomensDay

— Bettany Hughes (@Bettany_Hughes) March 8, 2014

This historian, author and broadcaster is currently writing a new biography of Istanbul. When she isn't writing, Bettany is tweeting about her sights and experiences in museums around the world, or about upcoming projects and tidbits of ancient wisdom.

Max Boot @MaxBoot


+ 1 @CSIS @CNN It's "Time to push al-Maliki out of power" according A.Cordesman http://t.co/UvmiZtHm6L @CNN pic.twitter.com/MhfdLJgBH4

— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) June 12, 2014

Boot is a hoot. When it comes to politics and Council on Foreign Relations news, of course. This historian offers his opinions, and current events related op-ed pieces. He forwards the thoughts of other leading figures in foreign affairs through his feed.

Frank McDonough @FXMC1957


26 June 1945. The United Nations Charter was signed by 50 nations in San Francisco, USA.

— Prof.Frank McDonough (@FXMC1957) June 26, 2014

A history professor at Liverpool John Moores University, and author, Frank normally tweets history facts each morning. When he says every morning, he means every morning. He accepts all coffee donations.

Paul Reed @sommecourt


Visiting Pegasus Bridge #Normandy #DDay70 pic.twitter.com/bFx9h3ppMg

— Paul Reed (@sommecourt) June 27, 2014

Reed is a military historian who posts photography and articles, and lots of it! If you happen to be in the mood for a journey through Normandy or the battlefields of World War I, this is the subscription you should probably invest in. Recommendation: Bring a helmet, a canteen and extra rations.

Mike Williams @MikesVoice


Excavations beneath houses on an 18th-C. plantation has revealed magical charms, possibly against the slaves' magic http://t.co/cr7h0QMEvf

— Mike Williams (@MikesVoice) June 5, 2014

Williams is a prehistoric shaman and the author of The Shaman's Spirit, which can be found on his website, PrehistoricShamanism.com. When he's not speaking about strictly archaeological matters or examining the bones of our ancestors, he's tweeting away in a enthusiastic manner about general events in history and ancient cultures. Make no bones about it!

Dr. Darren R. Reid @ThatHistorian


The International Space Station is, right now, live streaming its view of the planet: http://t.co/qCG7nilLKX

— Dr. Darren R. Reid (@ThatHistorian) May 8, 2014

Dr. Reid is an author and historian whose Twitter feed is a mixture of informative and entertaining multimedia. He seems very open to conversations with other people, discussing issues and answering queries. His world views are Space Station-approved.

Erik Kwakkel @erik_kwakkel


This cow looks rather shocked to find himself in a capital letter wearing a pink dress (AmiensBM355, 14th c). pic.twitter.com/N4xO3DS99k

— Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) June 25, 2014

Erik Kwakkel is a medieval book historian with a vibrant personality who believes there is more to life than manuscripts. On his Twitter script, he offers fun interpretations of medieval paintings as well as the daily scoop of antiquity news.

Daniel Pipes @DanielPipes


Daniel Pipes blogs and tweets about the Middle East.  At HNN we often pair his writing with Juan Cole's to give readers an appreciation of the broad spectrum of views on controversies involving the Middle East.