Expand the section navigation mobile menu

Charles W. Akers

Professor Emeritus

The Department of History deeply regrets the passing of Professor Emeritus Charles Akers, who died on February 1, 2009. The following is an excerpt from his obituary, which was published in The  Oakland Press:

Charles W. Akers

Dr. Charles W. Akers, author and history professor at Oakland University, has been an integral part of the Oakland University community for 33 years.

Dr. Akers of Charleston, S.C., died Feb. 1, 2009, at the age of 89. He was born to parents Rev. Ira and Mary Bird Akers on April 2, 1920, in Indianapolis. He graduated from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass., in 1947 and later earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from Boston University.

Dr. Akers was a U.S. Navy veteran and served from 1942 to 1946 in World War II and ended his tour in Hawaii before beginning his teaching career. A published author and professor, Dr. Akers taught American history at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Penn. In 1966, he began teaching in the history department of Oakland University, retiring from OU in 1995. In addition to his career as a professor, Dr. Akers also authored several historical books during his lifetime, including  The Divine Politician, a biography of Samuel Cooper, which was the winner of the American Revolution Roundtable Award;  Abigail Adams: An American Woman, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and received the Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award; and was co-author of  Bo McMillan: Man and Legend.

He was a member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and an Associate of Early American History and Culture in addition to devoting himself to OU and Oakland County. Dr. Akers received the Oakland University Excellence in Research Award and the Distinguished Faculty Award of the Michigan Association of Governing Boards.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Eleanor, two daughters, Marcie Levardsen of Flint and Carolyn Quinto and her husband Bob of Bristol, Conn., and son Jeffrey and his wife Laurie of Mt. Pleasant, S.C. He was the grandfather of Emily, Carolyn and Anne Levardsen; Justin, Michael and Andrew Quinto; and Samantha, Eliza, Gracie and Tessa Akers. He is also survived by two nieces and a nephew.

Ph.D., Boston University

Selected Publications:


The Divine Politician: Samuel Cooper and the American Revolution in Boston (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1982). Winner of the American Revolution Roundtable Award.

Abigail Adams: An American Woman (Boston: Little Brown, 1980). Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Winer of Colonial Dames of American Annual Book Award.

Called Unto Liberty: A Life of Jonathan Mayhew, 1720-1766 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964).

Bo McMillan: Man and Legend (Louisville: Sulgrave Press, 1989), co-authored with John W. Carter.

Articles and Book Chapters

"Old Historians Never Die,"  William and Mary Quarterly 52 (1995): 447-60.

"John Adams" in  The Presidents: A Reference History, ed. Henry F. Graff (New York: Scribners, 1984).

"Religion and the American Revolution: Samuel Cooper and the Brattle Street Church,"  William and Mary Quarterly 35 (1978): 477-98.

"The Lost Reputation of Samuel Cooper as a Leader of the American Revolution,"  New England Historical and Genealogical Register 80 (1976): 23-34.

"Our Modern Egyptians: Phillis Wheatley and the Whig Campaign Against Slavery in Revolutionary Boston," Journal of Negro History 60 (1975): 397-410.

"Sam Adams — and Much More,"  The New England Quarterly 47 (1974): 120-31.

"Calvinism and the American Revolution" in  The Heritage of John Calvin, ed. John H. Bratt (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1973).

Department of History

Varner Hall, Room 415
371 Varner Dr.
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3510
fax: (248) 370-3528