Alan Taylor, Ph.D. was born in Portland, Maine on June 17, 1955. Alan Taylor attended Colby College, graduating in 1977. After serving as a researcher for historic preservation in the United States Virgin Islands (1977-79), he pursued graduate study at Brandeis University, receiving his Ph.d in American History in 1986. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Virginia), he taught in the history department at Boston University from 1987 to 1994. Since 1994, he has been a professor at the University of California at Davis, where he teaches courses in early North American history, the history of the American West, and the history of Canada. In August 2014, he will begin to hold the Thomas Jefferson Chair in American History at the University of Virginia.
He is also active in California State Social Science and History Project. This project provides curriculum support for K-12 teachers in history and social studies. In 2002 he won the University of California at Davis Award for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement and the Phi Beta Kappa, Northern California Association, Teaching Excellence Award.
Taylor is the author of seven books: Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820 (1990); William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic, (1995); American Colonies (2001); Writing Early American History (2005); The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution (2006); The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies (2010); The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia (2013).