Ronald Wells

Ronald Wells


B.A., Boston University
M.A., Boston University
Ph.D., Boston University


Ronald is the support crew for his (Calvin grad) wife, Barbara, who is Vice-President and Academic Dean at Maryville College, a Presbyterian school, just south of Knoxville and just north of the Smoky Mountains National Park. They enjoy the mountains, both the view from their deck and walking in them. They also enjoy “the old time music” that originated in those mountains.

Recent activities

Ronald retired from the Calvin history department in 2006. From semi-retirement in east Tennessee, he co-edited, with James D. Bratt, The Best of the Reformed Journal (Eerdmans). His part-time job is director of the Maryville College Symposium on Faith and the Liberal Arts, an annual conference on faith and learning. He is doing research and writing about the history of Maryville College, in collaboration with Gerald Gibson, president emeritus of the college.

Read Ron Wells's posts on Historical Horizons, the history department blog.

Academic interests

Professor Wells taught American, Canadian, British and California history at Calvin for over 30 years. His research and publication interests include: 1) Christianity and History. He was for twelve years editor of Fides et Historia, and is author of History Through the Eyes of Faith (Harper); 2) Trans-Atlantic History. He is co-author of Ulster-American Religion (Notre Dame) and of Alistair Cooke: America Observed (Penguin); 3) California. He has written on Josiah and Cesar Chavez; 4) Peace and Reconciliation, Especially in Northern Ireland. He is the author of People Behind the Peace (Eerdmans) and Hope and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland (Liffey).



Co-editor with James Bratt. The Best of The Reformed Journal. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012.

Hope and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland: The Role of Faith Based Organizations. Dublin, Ireland: The Liffey Press, 2010.

Co-editor with Janel Curry. The Faithful Imagination in the Academy: Explorations in Religious Belief and Scholarship. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008.

California, From the Conquest in 1846 to the First Vigilance Committee in San Francisco, by Josiah Royce (1886), edited and introduced by Ronald Wells. Berkeley: Heyday Books, 2002.

People Behind the Peace: Community and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1999.

Ulster-American Religion: Episodes in the History of a Cultural Connection. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1999.

Editor. History and the Christian Historian: Studies in Historiography. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1998.

History Through the Eyes of Faith: Western Civilization and the Kingdom of God. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1989. French edition: Quebec City: La Clairiere, 1994. Korean edition: Seoul: Intervarsity Press, 1994.

Alistair Cooke: America Observed. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1988; London: Max Reinhardt, 1988. New York: Collier-Macmillan, 1989; London: Penguin, 1989. (paperback)

Editor. The Wars of America: Christian Views. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1981.  Revised edition; Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1991.


“The Protestant Allies of Cesar Chavez.” Journal of Presbyterian History 86 (2009): 1-22.

“Revising the Sesquicentennial Narrative: Josiah Royce’s Moral History of California.” California History,80 (2002): 124-141.

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