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Stephan Thernstrom (born 1934) is the Winthrop Research Professor of History at Harvard Universitymarker. He was the editor of the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups and the author of several books including Poverty and Progress: Social Mobility in the 19th Century. He also co-authored with his wife Abigail Thernstrom No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning.

Thernstrom was born and raised in Port Huron, Michiganmarker. His family later moved to Battle Creek, Michiganmarker. He received his bachelor's degree from Northwestern Universitymarker and his Ph.D. from Harvard Universitymarker.

Thernstom held faculty appointments at Harvard University, Brandeis Universitymarker and the University of California, Los Angelesmarker. He returned to Harvard with an appointment as full professor in 1973. From 1978-1979 Thernstrom was Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the University of Cambridgemarker.

Thernstrom married Abigail in 1958. They have two children. One of which is Melanie Thernstrom.

Thernstrom is a neo-Conservative thinker. He was raised in a strong liberal tradition, as was his wife Abigail. They argue that it is the left and not them who have changed. They reject the policies of race preferences and argue that such policies mainly lead to higher drop out rates among African Americans in colleges.

Thernstrom and his wife were awarded the Bradley Prize in 2007.

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