Edward (Ted) Ladd Widmer (born 1963) is a historian, writer, librarian and musician who served as a speechwriter in the later days of the Clinton White House.

Ted Widmer obtained an A.B. in the history and literature of France and the United States, an A.M. in history, and a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization from Harvard University. In 1992 he married Mary Frederica Rhinelander, a printmaker and figurative artist.[2] Widmer was appointed lecturer on history and literature at Harvard University from 1993 until 1997. He then spent a few years working with Bill Clinton, both during and after Clinton's presidency. He wrote foreign policy speeches, and subsequently was the senior advisor to the president for special projects, advising on history and scholarship related issues. He conducted interviews with Clinton while Clinton was writing his autobiography.

He was the first director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience[3] and an associate professor of history at Washington College from 2001. On July 1, 2006 he was appointed director and librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.[4]

From 1995 until 1997 he played guitar and vocals in a Boston hard rock band, the Upper Crust.[5]

His parents are Eric Widmer and Ellen B. Widmer. His father taught history of China and became Dean of Admissions and financial aid at Brown University before going on to a further career in secondary school administration; his mother was an Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures at Wesleyan University before becoming Mayling Soong Professor of Chinese Studies; Professor of East Asian Studies, Wellesley College.


  • Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City (winner of the 2001 Washington Irving Prize)
  • Martin Van Buren
  • Campaigns: A Century of Presidential Races (co-author)
  • Ark of the Liberties: America and the World (a history of U.S. foreign policy)
  • Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy (co-author with Caroline Kennedy)