Alf J. Mapp Jr.
Alf Mapp, eminent scholar emeritus of English and a nationally recognized authority on Thomas Jefferson, was the first recipient of the Friends of the ODU Library’s Outstanding Achievement Award. It was said that he “represents all that a library cherishes reading for enjoyment, scholarly research, preservation of culture and tradition, and the quest for discovery, invention and truth.”
The Library of Congress thought highly of him, too, and provided him an office while he researched his second book on Jefferson.
Mapp, a 13th-generation Virginian, has written nine books, including two on Jefferson, whose footsteps he began tracing after learning as a College of William and Mary freshman that he was taking classes in the same building Jefferson had and that he was walking the same path Jefferson often trod. His books on Jefferson received critical acclaim, and he has often been called upon by the print and electronic media to discuss America’s third president.
During his more than three decades at Old Dominion, Mapp received numerous awards, including being named the Louis I. Jaffe Professor in 1990. In 1992 he received the ODU triennial Phi Kappa Phi National Scholar Award and in 1996 the Richard Hakluyt award for historic writing.
His most recent book, The Faiths of Our Fathers: What America’s Founders Really Believed, was published in September 2003.