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Goodwin, Amid Flap, Quits Pulitzer Board

June 01, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who has faced accusations of plagiarism over a 1987 book, has resigned from the Pulitzer Prize board, Columbia University announced Friday.

In a letter to board Chairman John Carroll, Goodwin said: "After the controversy earlier this year surrounding my book, 'The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys,' and the need now to concentrate on my Lincoln manuscript, I will not be able to give the board the kind of attention it deserves."

Goodwin, who joined the board in 1999, won a Pulitzer for her 1995 book "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II."

In January, as journalists probed the biographies and works of several high-profile historians, she acknowledged that "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys" contained sections of text taken without attribution to another author.

Goodwin said the copying was accidental, the result of a longhand note-taking system that didn't distinguish between her own observations and passages from other texts.

Both she and the author, Lynne McTaggart, said they had reached a settlement years earlier that included an undisclosed payment and revisions to Goodwin's book.

A woman who answered the phone at Goodwin's Concord, Mass., home said Goodwin was traveling and had no further comment.

Since her admission, Goodwin has taken a leave from PBS' "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," where she had been making regular appearances, and some universities rescinded speaking invitations. She also withdrew from this year's Pulitzer Prize judging in April.

In accepting Goodwin's resignation, Carroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times, wrote: "We have valued you as a colleague and appreciate your contributions over the past three years."

The Pulitzers, American journalism's most prestigious prizes, are administered by Columbia University.

Seymour Topping, the administrator of the prizes, said Carroll consulted with others on the 17-member board before accepting Goodwin's resignation, which was effective Friday.

An inquiry being conducted on the plagiarism charge "is now moot," he said.

Elected members of the Pulitzer board serve a maximum of nine years and stand for reelection every three years.

Goodwin, who was in her fourth year, had been reelected in November 2001.

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