William Chester Jordan received his AB degree from Ripon College and his PhD in history from Princeton University. He is Dayton-Stockton Professor of History and served as Chairman of the Department of History at Princeton University (2008-2017), where he teaches courses on the Middle Ages. His books include Louis IX and the Challenge of the Crusade: A Study in Rulership (1979); From Servitude to Freedom: Manumission in the Sénonais in the Thirteenth Century (1986); The French Monarchy and the Jews from Philip Augustus to the Last Capetians (1989); Women and Credit in Pre-Industrial and Developing Societies (1993, Japanese translation 2004); The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century (1996), the winner of the Haskins Medal of the Medieval Academy of America; Europe in the High Middle Ages (2001), a volume in the Penguin History of Europe (Italian translation 2013; Chinese translation 2018); Unceasing Strife, Unending Fear: Jacques de Thérines and the Freedom of the Church in the Age of the Last Capetians (2005), A Tale of Two Monasteries: Westminster and Saint-Denis in the Thirteenth Century (2009), Men at the Center: Redemptive Governance under Louis IX (2012), From England to France: Felony and Exile in the High Middle Ages (2015). and The Apple of His Eye: Converts from Islam in the Reign of Louis IX (2019, French translation 2020). His most recent book is Servant of the Crown and Steward of the Church: The Career of Philippe of Cahors (2020). Professor Jordan has also edited several encyclopedias for elementary school children, middle- and high school students, and scholars.
During his career at Princeton Professor Jordan has served as Executive Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies and as Chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee and Program in Medieval Studies. He has also served or is serving on the boards of various educational and philanthropic organizations and editorial enterprises: the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, the Teagle Foundation, the International Committee of Historical Sciences, the Institute for Advanced Studies (Jerusalem), Princeton University Press, the American Historical Review, Jewish History, the Jewish Quarterly Review, the Journal of Medieval History, and Church History. And he has received a number of honors and awards. These include a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, an Annenberg Research Institute Fellowship, a Residency as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome, the Behrman Award of Princeton University for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities, the President’s Award of Princeton University for Distinguished Teaching, and election as a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is past President of the Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages (TEAMS) and of the American Catholic Historical Association. He also served as President of the Medieval Academy of America in 2014-2015. He holds Doctorates of Humane Letters honoris causa from Ripon College (2001), Bard College (2016), and Catholic University of America (2021) and a Doctorate of Laws honoris causa from Harvard University (2019).