Ann E. Hagedorn

Ann E. Hagedorn, 1971

B.A., Denison University
M.A., University of Michigan
M.A., Columbia University


Ripley, Ohio

Citation awarded June, 2007

Ann Hagedorn’s award-winning talents have taken her through successful stints at The Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News to significant independent writing. During the 1990’s she wrote two books requiring extraordinary investigative reporting: Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc. and Ransom: The Untold Story of International Kidnapping. Her skill resulted in appearances on NPR’s All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and The Tavis Smiley Show, as well as in Time, Entertainment Weekly, People, the Washington Post and USA Today. Wild Ride is now in the final draft of a screenplay at Paramount.

Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad was published in 2003. It tells the true story of men and women who worked on the front lines of the Underground Railroad along the Ohio River, focusing on a narrative about the remarkable town of Ripley, a gateway for slaves fleeing the South. The late Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., called Beyond the River “vivid in its narration and scrupulous in its scholarship.” The book was named one of the ALA’s 25 Notable Books of 2004.

A stunning look at American democracy under pressure, Savage Peace: Hope and Fear in America, 1919 was published earlier this year by Simon & Schuster. The book was described by one reviewer (Dayton Daily News) as “brutally brilliant, wrenchingly informative, and a work for the ages.” Of Ann, another reviewer says, “Now we have a historian who is up to the challenge of vividly demonstrating not only 1919’s historical significance, but also its political and cultural relevance to us in the era of 9/11 and the Patriot Act.” And Nick Clooney, writing in the Cincinnati Post, puts it this way: “Why in the world would anyone read fiction when there are people like Ann Hagedorn out there telling us true stories that beggar anything the imagination can produce?” It is no surprise that she was recently elected to the Society of American Historians.

Ann has taught narrative nonfiction writing at Columbia’a Graduate School of Journalism and at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and has been a Beck Lecture Series speaker at Denison several times. She currently serves on the boards of the Ohio Humanities Council and the Mercantile Library, a literary society in Cincinnati where she is working to establish the Late Bloomers School of Writing.