Callahan wrote numerous articles and 17 books, some of which received awards.
In 1964, Callahan was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of Chattanooga, the only graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to have received both an honorary degree and the Distinguished Alumnus Award. He wrote more nationally-published books than any other alumnus.
His publishers include McGraw-Hill, Little-Brown, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Bobbs- Merrill, William Morrow, Cornwall Books, as well as New York and Penn State University Presses. When he was given the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Chattanooga in 1964, the citation said in part, "He has found teaching and writing exciting."
The New York Times credited him for "filling a gap in the annals of the American Revolution." The Chicago Tribune stated about one of his books, "This book deserves an honored place on the library shelf of every thinking American." The Wall Street Journal wrote, "This volume places Dr. Callahan in the front rank of American historians." The American Historical Review said, "This book is a valuable contribution to a neglected aspect of American history."
Callahan established in his name an annual award for the best Honors Essay in American and European history and biography at UTC. He established the first glee club at the university, where he also founded the Great Books Club. He wrote and directed three plays based on his early acting career and served as chairman of the Folklore Division of the American Studies Association.
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