David P. Thelen received his B.A. from Antioch College in 1962 and his M.A. (1964) and Ph.D. (1967) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined the History Department at IU in 1985 and became Distinguished Professor in 2004.
He has authored or co-authored numerous books, articles, and chapters. Professor Thelen was Editor of the Journal of American History from 1985-1999 and served on several editorial boards including Canadian Review of American Studies in 1992. The organization of American History named its prize for the best article originally published in a foreign language for Professor Thelen at its 1999 meeting.
Among his many awards and recognition, Professor Thelen received the Award of Merit twice from the American Association of State and Local History, the Historic Preservation Award from Mary Washington University in 1999, and was a Guggenhem Fellow (1973-74) and Fulbright-Hays Senior Research Fellow to United Kingdom (1973-74), to name a few.
His professional service includes: Project Team, American Association of Museums' Museums and Community Initiative; Chair, National Committee on History-Making in America; Chair, Center on History-Making in America; member, Joint ACLS-Research Libraries Group Task Force; Task Force, Joint Committee of Archivists and Historians; Advisory Board, New York History Academy; Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Teaching, Organization of American Historians; and served on numerous other committees and boards.
Thelen received the IU Bicentennial Medal in September 2020 in recognition of his distinguished contributions to Indiana University.