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Bill Friedricks

Director of History Center / Anna D Hunt History Department Chair / Professor of History


Ph.D. American History, University of Southern California, 1986 
M.A. American History, University of Southern California, 1985 
B.A. History, University of California, San Diego, 1980


A southern California native, Bill Friedricks is professor of history and director of the Iowa History Center at Simpson College.  He received his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Southern California.  His dissertation became the basis for his first book, Henry E. Huntington and the Creation of Southern California (1992), which won the Donald H. Pflueger Award for the best book in southern California history.

After coming to Simpson 1988, Friedricks began looking for a local research topic, and on the suggestion of the late college trustee, Luther Hill, Jr., he wrote a book on the Des Moines Register—Covering Iowa: The History of the Des Moines Register and Tribune Company, 1849-1985 (2000).  This project introduced him to Iowa history, and he has been involved in it ever since.  He founded the Iowa History Center in 2006 and has written several more books on topics in Iowa history: In for the Long Haul: The Life of John Ruan (2003); Investing in Iowa: The Life and Times of F. M. Hubbell (2007); The Real Deal: The Life of Bill Knapp (2013); Constructing a Legacy: The Weitz Company and the Family Who Built It (2015); and the forthcoming history of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation.

In the fall of 2008, Friedricks was the recipient of the Iowa History Prize, an award given by Humanities Iowa to a leading Iowa history scholar, and in 2015, he received the Iowa Author’s Award from the Des Moines Public Library Foundation.  He serves as editor of the Iowa and the Midwest Experience book series at the University of Iowa Press and is a board member of the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Friedricks teaches courses in Iowa history, recent America, and the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, as well as the US Surveys.