Edward Gray

Professor of History
Edward Gray photo

Contact Information

I was educated at the University of Chicago and at Brown University where I received my doctorate in early American history. I joined the FSU history department in 1998 and since then have taught a range of courses in U.S. history, Native American history, the history of colonial North America, and the history of the Pacific in the age of Captain James Cook. In recent years, my work has centered on the intertwined histories of Britain and the United States in the age of the American Revolutionary War. My most recent book, Tom Paine’s Iron Bridge: Building a United States (W.W. Norton & Co., 2016), explains why, at the height of his powers, the American Revolution’s most influential pamphleteer turned from politics to architecture. Among the other projects I’m working on is a history of the Mason-Dixon Line, from the colonial era through the Civil War. I am also writing a book about the imprisonment of Henry Laurens, American envoy to the Netherlands and a former President of the Continental Congress. Laurens remains the highest-ranking American official ever imprisoned by a foreign state and the only American ever imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Research Interests

Early America


The Daily Thomas Paine: A Year of Common-Sense Quotes for a Nonsensical Age

Thomas Paine was the spark that ignited the American Revolution. More than just a founding father, he was a verbal bomb-thrower, a rationalist, and a rebel.

Tom Paine's Iron Bridge: Building a United States

The little-known story of the architectural project that lay at the heart of Tom Paine’s political blueprint for the United States.

New World Babel

New World Babel is an innovative cultural and intellectual history of the languages spoken by the native peoples of North America from the earliest era of European conquest through the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution

The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution draws on a wealth of new scholarship to create a vibrant dialogue among varied approaches to the revolution that made the United States.

Colonial America: A History in Documents

By examining the lives of the colonists through their own words--in diaries, letters, sermons, newspaper columns, and poems--Colonial America: A History in Documents, Second Edition reveals how immigrants, despite their vast differences, laid the foundations for a new nation: the United States.

The Making of John Ledyard: Empire and Ambition in the Life of an Early American Traveler

During the course of his short but extraordinary life, John Ledyard (1751–1789) came in contact with some of the most remarkable figures of his era.

The Language Encounter in the Americas, 1492-1800

When Columbus arrived in the Americas there were, it is believed, as many as 2,000 distinct, mutually unintelligible tongues spoken in the western hemisphere, encompassing the entire area from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego.