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Name: Billington, James
Current Position: Previous Librarian
Born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and raised in Philadelphia, James H. Billington earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College. He served in the U.S. Army and worked in the Office of National Estimates, and then taught history at Harvard University from 1957 to 1962. He was professor of history at Princeton University from 1964 to 1973. Thereafter, Billington directed the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he founded the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, and seven other new programs, including the Wilson Quarterly.
Billington has authored several books on Russia and accompanied 10 Congressional delegations to Russia and the former Soviet Union. He founded the Open World Program, a “nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress that has brought over 10,000 emerging young Russian political leaders to communities throughout America, and launched smaller pilot programs in Ukraine, Lithuania and Uzbekistan.” He was sworn in as Librarian of the Library on September 14, 1987.
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