Alan Brinkley was the Allan Nevins Professor of History at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1991.
Mr. Brinkley grew up in Washington, a son of David Brinkley, the longtime NBC News anchor, who died in 2003. His brother Joel was a reporter and editor for The New York Times and died in 2014; his brother John is a writer at Forbes.
After graduating from Princeton, he applied to Harvard Law School and was accepted, but his father’s loathing of lawyers intimidated him and he abandoned that plan. Alan Brinkley was born on June 2, 1949, in Washington. His mother was Ann (Fischer) Brinkley.
Alan attended Landon, a private boys’ school in Bethesda. He graduated from Princeton with a degree in public policy in 1971 and earned his doctorate in history from Harvard in 1979.
He taught history at M.I.T. before returning to Harvard in 1982 as an assistant professor. Mr. Brinkley was snapped up by the City University of New York, where he taught before being recruited by Columbia in 1991. He served as chairman of the history department there from 2000 to 2003 and as provost from 2003 to 2009. He retired in 2018.
In 1989 he married Evangeline Morphos, a theater and television producer who held a doctorate in 18th-century English literature and taught theater and film at Columbia.
In addition to his wife, daughter and brother, Mr. Brinkley is survived by a half sister, Alexis Brinkley Collins.