James McMurtry Longo is a master storyteller, whether showcasing his talents at the International Storytelling Festival beneath the Gateway Arch in his hometown of St. Louis, at the schools and universities on three continents where he has taught, around the campfires of the summer camps he has directed, or in the eight books he has written.
Jim began his writing career as the sports editor of his school newspaper. Today, he is chair of the Education Department at Washington & Jefferson College. His latest book, From Classroom to White House: Presidents and First Ladies as Students and Teachers, published by McFarland in 2011, won rave reviews from coast to coast.
His earlier trilogy of ghost stories—Haunted Odyssey, Ghosts Along the Mississippi and Favorite Haunts—solidified his national reputation as a “storyteller extraordinaire,” as heralded by WPST Philadelphia.
Jim’s 2008 book, Isabel Orleans-Bragança: The Brazilian Princess Who Freed the Slaves, published by McFarland, was nominated for Yale University’s Frederick Douglass Book Prize as the “most outstanding non-fiction book in English on the subject of slavery and abolition.” It was also nominated for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Book Award.
When Jim was serving as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair of the Gender and Women’s Study Program at Austria’s Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt, that biography caught the attention of the great-granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination sparked World War I. The mysterious circumstances of that murder and the impact it had on Ferdinand’s family and history is the subject of Jim’s upcoming book: The Ghost of Franz Ferdinand and the Family and Wars he Left Behind.
His research and teaching have taken him to Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Portugal, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, the Czech Republic and Canada. He holds an Ed.D. in Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning from Harvard University, an M.A.T. in Curriculum Writing and Design from Webster University and a B.S. in Education and History from University of Missouri-St. Louis .
Jim believes all he ever needed to know he learned at summer camp. When not teaching or writing, he would rather be in a canoe than any other place on earth. He lives in Washington, Pa., with his wife.