Neil Baldwin was born in New York City and attended the Horace Mann School. He was a Visiting Student at the University of Manchester, England, and received his B.A. in English from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. in Modern American Poetry from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His doctoral dissertation, a descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts and letters of William Carlos Williams in the collections of SUNY/Buffalo and Yale University (Preface by Robert Creeley), was published by G. K. Hall and Company, Boston, in 1978.
From 1974-1982, he edited and published The Niagara Magazine, a journal of contemporary poetry. Dr. Baldwin taught literature and creative writing at the City College of New York, Hunter College, Baruch College, The New School, Fordham University, and New York University, where he created a graduate seminar called "What Was Modernism?"
He worked in the non-profit institutional development field for three decades. From 1984-1989, he was Manager of the Annual Fund at The New York Public Library during "The Campaign for the Library." From July 1989-December 2003, he was founding Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, sponsor of the prestigious National Book Awards, and educational outreach efforts in New York City and across America.
Dr. Baldwin is the author of three volumes of poetry published by the Salt-Works Press, three textbooks, and three biographies: To All Gentleness: William Carlos Williams, The Doctor-Poet (Atheneum, 1984; Preface by William Eric Williams) which received the Hands Across the Sea Award from the British-American Cultural Institute and has been reissued by Inprint Editions (Baltimore) to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Williams' birth; Man Ray: American Artist (Clarkson N. Potter, 1988); and Edison: Inventing the Century (Hyperion, 1995), which received the 1996 New Jersey Council on the Humanities Book Award and was named one of the ten best books of the year by Business Week. He is also the co-editor of a collection of interviews with National Book Award Winners, The Writing Life (Random House, 1996), and author of a commemorative collection of essays, National Book Award Classics (Lightning Source/Ingram, 2004).
His screenplay for the documentary "Man Ray: Prophet of the Avant-Garde," based upon his book and produced by Mel Stuart Productions, appeared on WNET/13 in April 1997 as part of the "American Masters" series. The film was nominated for an Emmy Award and also received a Gold Hugo Award at the Chicago Film Festival.
His biography of Man Ray, with a new Introduction, was reissued by Da Capo Press in January 2001, on the 25th anniversary of the artist's death. His biography of Thomas Edison was reissued in June 2001 by the University of Chicago Press.
Legends of the Plumed Serpent: Biography of a Mexican God, was published in October 1998 by PublicAffairs in New York City. It was the culmination of ten years of research and field-trips to Mexico, exploring the history, symbolism and iconography of Quetzalcoatl (The Plumed Serpent) in Mesoamerican and Mexican life, literature and culture over three thousand years. It was chosen as one of the year's ten best nonfiction titles by the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and Publishers Weekly.
Dr. Baldwin's book, Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass-Production of Hate, published by PublicAffairs in November 2001, was a Barnes & Noble Bestseller and a Finalist for the 2002 National Jewish Book Award in History. The paperback, with a new Afterword, was published in January 2003.
The American Revelation: Ten Ideals That Shaped Our Country from the Puritans to the Cold War, published in June 2005 by St. Martin's Press, a Wall Street Journal "Editor's Choice," was named a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year, and received a Library Journal Starred Review.
The paperback was published on July 4, 2006.
Neil Baldwin is Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and Director of the Creative Research Center -- www.montclair.edu/creativeresearch -- in the College of the Arts, Montclair State University, where he teaches dramaturgy, danceaturgy, theatre criticism and arts administration. He is co-director of the NYU Biography Seminar, a member of the visiting committee of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library at the New York Botanical Garden, served on the program committee for the 2008 annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians, and is a member of the Writers Guild of America (East), the National Arts Club literary committee, the Director's Council of the Montclair Art Museum, the Century Association, and PEN American Center.
His web site, www.neilbaldwinbooks.com, won a 2005 Web Marketing Association "Standard of Excellence" Award. His occasional commentary on education, the arts and culture may be found at http://blog.nj.com/njv_neil_baldwin/
He lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.