About

Eric John Abrahamson is a business and economic historian who has researched and written about various regulated industries including telecommunications, financial services and electric utilities, as well as business and philanthropy in California, the United States and Canada. Abrahamson is president of Vantage Point Historical Services, Inc. He is also a fellow with the Institute of Applied Economics, Global Health and Study of Business Enterprise at Johns Hopkins University.

The Wall Street Journal described Abrahamson’s book, Building Home: Howard F. Ahmanson and the Politics of the American Dream (University of California Press, 2013) as “an impressive biography” and “an ideal lens through which to view some of the momentous developments in America following [World War II].”

Abrahamson wrote and edited a series of books on the history of the Rockefeller Foundation, including Beyond Charity: A Century of Philanthropic Innovation (Rockefeller Foundation, 2013) and Democracy & Philanthropy: the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Experiment (Rockefeller Foundation, 2013), which he co-authored with Barbara Shubinski and Sam Hurst. He is also the co-author of a number of other books including Spirited Commitment: The Samuel & Saidye Bronfman Foundation (McGill-Queens University Press, 2010) and Anytime, Anywhere: Entrepreneurship and the Creation of a Wireless World (Cambridge University Press, 2002). He has also written private biographies of a former U.S. ambassador to France and a Fortune 500 CEO.

Abrahamson received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 2003. His dissertation explored the relationship between innovation and regulation in the development of mobile telephony in the United States from 1947-1984.

As an interlocutor and oral historian, Abrahamson has interviewed on camera and on stage a variety of leaders and luminaries including former heads of state, corporate CEOs and the presidents of major philanthropic and educational institutions.

Abrahamson co-founded the Black Hills Knowledge Network and South Dakota Dashboard, an innovative community information project funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Bush Foundation. He is a director of the John T. Vucurevich Foundation and of the South Dakota Humanities Council. The former chairman of the South Dakota State Library Board, Abrahamson played a leading role in the re-launch of the Black Hills Area Community Foundation and served for eight years on its board. In 2006, Abrahamson was a candidate for lieutenant governor of South Dakota.

A California native, Abrahamson grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and earned a B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in English/Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. In 1984, he was one of four finalists for the Iowa Short Fiction Award.


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