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Christopher Fulton McKee was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 14, 1935. In 1957, Mckee graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Houston and in 1960 he completed his Masters of Library Science at the University of Michigan. Since then, McKee has worked at various institutions of higher learning as a librarian, historian, and educator. These institutions include Washington and Lee University (1958-1962), Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville (1962-1972), and Grinnell College (1972-2006). McKee also held the Secretary of the Navy Research Chair in Naval History at the Naval History Center (1990-1991) and was a NEH fellow at Newberry Library (1978-79). He has been recognized nationally for his contributions to the study of naval history. Awards include the U.S. Naval History prize (1985), John Lyman Book award, and the Samuel Eliot Morison Distinguished Service award.
McKee's major naval history publications include Edward Preble: A Naval Biography, 1761-1807 (1972),A Gentlemanly and Honorable Profession: The Creation of the U. S. Naval Officer Corps, 1794-1815(1991), Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy, 1900-1945 (2002).