James Mitchell

Research Historian | Dedicated Communicator

“History gives us a way to understand the world around us. Communicating this knowledge is a task I take on every day.”

Work at HAI

At HAI, James is a researcher and writer who enjoys finding new ways to put his passion for history to use. For James, history is more than a set of facts and figures—it is the key to understanding current events. From systems of government to the manufacture of pencils, history reveals the complexity of what we know to be intricate and what we think is simple. James relishes the opportunity to unearth and share these important insights.

Since joining the HAI team in January 2019, James has been involved in a number of projects on a variety of topics. His research has taken him to the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and state and local libraries and archives. He has also worked with Harvard University’s Baker Library, the National Archives at Philadelphia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and county historical societies in the pursuit of original documents and the information contained therein.

His subject matter experience includes:

  • American diplomatic history
  • Superfund sites
  • Lead paint inquiries
  • Property deeds and tax records
  • Corporate genealogies and company histories
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs records
Path to HAI

James graduated summa cum laude from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, his undergraduate thesis received the American Studies Program Award and the Richard Holstein Prize for Ethics. He was also named a finalist for the Sophie Kerr Literary Prize. James went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Chicago, where he studied history, philosophy, religion, and classics.

James has worked as a writing tutor and interned in the Office of the Historian of the United States House of Representatives and the Maryland General Assembly. James’ research has received support from the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, where he held the Frederick Douglass Student fellowship, the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture, and the S. Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows. 

Originally from Pennsylvania, James is an advocate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and an Eagle Scout.