Lecturer in history Donald J. Olsen received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for 1980; Olsen, who had also received the fellowship in 1967, used the grant to expand his project on “A Comparative Study of London, Paris and Vienna Since Late 18th Century.”

Olsen’s research culminated in his highly acclaimed The City as Work of Art: London, Paris, Vienna (1986) which won the 1987 British Council Prize in the Humanities. In her essay on Olsen in the online Vassar Encyclopedia, Riane Harper ’09 wrote, “The prize pronounced his work as the best book in British studies in the humanities published anywhere by a North American scholar. A fellow historian, David Cannadine, wrote, ‘A marvelous book, which brilliantly relates the form and functions of these three great cities to the political cultures and social values which moulded and created them.’"