Top Young Historians: 14 – Jill Lepore

TOP YOUNG HISTORIANS

14: Jill Lepore, 2-27-06

Basic Facts

Teaching Position: Chair, History and Literature Program and Professor of History, Harvard University
Area of Research: Early America
Education: Ph.D. Yale University, American Studies, 1995
Major Publications: New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery and Conspiracy in Eighteenth Century Manhattan (2005); A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States (2002); The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity (1999),Jill Lepore JPG and editor of Encounters in the New World: A History in Documents (1998).
Lepore is currently working on The Boston Massacre and the Trial of Liberty.
Awards: Bancroft Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians’ Book Prize, and the New England Historical Association’s Book Award all for The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity (1999).
Winner of the Kahn Award for A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States (2002).
Lepore was a Distinguished Lecturer, for the Organization of American Historians (2002-2005); she received the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2003-2004); the 2002 Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Fellowship; Affiliate, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (1999-2000); and the Ralph Henry Gabriel Dissertation Prize, American Studies Association.
Additional Info: Formerly Associate Professor of History at Boston University (1996-2003).
Lepore is co-founder and co-editor of the Web magazine Common-place (www.common-place.org). The website, which is sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and the Florida State University Department of History, describes itself as a “common place for exploring and exchanging ideas about early American history and culture.”
Lepore has advise on television projects including: “History of America” for PBS’ American Experience, “The Murder of Dr. Parkman for Spy Pond Productions (1999), and “TimeLab 2000” for the History Channel (1998-1999). She has alo appeared on C-SPAN, and has been interviewed by NPR.

Personal Anecdote

Like nearly everyone else, I spent most of graduate school drinking coffee. But, unlike everyone else, I had a rule about it: drink alone. When I set about writing my dissertation, I put myself on strict social quarantine from eight to four every day, since I knew that, otherwise, I’d spend much of my time in coffeehouses near campus, complaining about how slow the writing was going. It’s not that I didn’t want to complain. Boy did I ever. But I was running out of money and had piles of student loans to pay, and I needed to finish that dissertation.

Also, I had something I wanted to say, pretty urgently, and nothing concentrates the mind as much as sitting at your desk, with no one to talk to. When I’m writing, I don’t answer email and, though I answer the phone, I’m told I’m impossibly rude to anyone who calls (and I never can remember if anyone did). Hell, I was probably rude to the dog. It’s harder to be so isolated now; students need to reach me and someone at my house always needs tylenol or a diaper change. But if my writing days are shorter, and come less often, I still drink my coffee alone.

Quotes

By Jill Lepore

  • “Most historians consider themselves historians first and writers only incidentally. I think that’s a mistake. If readers don’t read the history historians write, it can’t be only the readers’ fault. The last decade has witnessed a tremendous surge in popular interest in American history, largely spurred by developments outside the academy: the rise of heritage tourism, the History Channel, and renewed interest in antiques and genealogy. Historians have got to ride this wave and try to take advantage of Americans’ powerful curiosity about the past by writing compelling essays and books. One way I’ve tried to do this is by founding Common-place (www.common-place.org), a web magazine that seeks to bridge the gap between scholarly and popular history. A bit friendlier than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine, Common-place speaks–and listens–to scholars, museum curators, teachers, hobbyists, and just about anyone interested in American history before 1900. Common-place is a common place for all sorts of people to read about all sorts of things relating to early American life–from architecture to literature, from politics to parlor manners. And it’s a place to find insightful analysis of early American history as it is discussed not only in scholarly literature but also on the evening news; in museums, big and small; in documentary and dramatic films; and in popular culture.” — Jill Lepore, interview with “The Borzoi Reader”
  • “Most of the beads found with Burial 340 were made of glass, chiefly blue and green and turquoise, the color of the ocean over which she had traveled and of the river she must cross. Glass beads like these were manufactured in Venice and Amsterdam and traded, for slaves, on the African coast. Two of the beads were cowrie shells, from Africa. One was amber. Another, a large black bead, was manufactured by the Iroquois, sometime between 1682 and 1750… Because beads, like ideas, are heirloomed, passed along from one generation to another, they aggravate archaeologists; they evade analysis. And because beads, like ideas, are strung together, a strand is more than the sum of its beads, just as a plot is more than the sum of its elements. Even if bead scholars could trace every single bead on the strand to its place of manufacture, they wouldn’t know what those beads meant to the woman who wore them even after death. In this those beads are much like the details of the 1741 slave confessions. Oh, but those beads, some of them are centuries old, and they come from all over the world. Who knows how they came into this woman’s hands, or how she carried them, across the Atlantic, on that miserable Middle Passage? But still I strain to hear, over the calls for reparations, over the rumble of barrels being pushed over cobblestones, the rattle of that long string of blue beads, wound around the waist of a woman of middle age, hidden, jangling under her clothes, as she walks down Maiden Lane.” Jill Lepore in “New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan”

About Jill Lepore

  • “A product [of] imaginative, and wide-ranging scholarship… a fascinating book.” — Gordon Wood, Brown University in the “New York Review of Books” about “The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity”
  • “Her achievement in this book puts her in the company of our best contemporary prose stylists. It takes only a few sentences to be caught up.” — Barry O’Connell in the “Boston Globe” about “The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity”
  • “With riveting prose and a richly imagined re-creation of a horrible but little-studied event… Lepore deftly recounts the circumstances surrounding a conspiracy in pre-Revolutionary Manhattan…. [She] draws a splendid portrait of the struggles, prejudices and triumphs of a very young New York City in which fully ‘one in five inhabitants was enslaved.'” — “Publishers Weekly” (starred review) of “New York Burning”
  • “Meticulous but accessible work of historical scholarship” and “Previously a recipient of the Bancroft Prize… Lepore may once again win that prestigious honor in American history for this searing work.” – “Booklist” (starred review) of “New York Burning”
  • “Probably the most intelligent, fascinating professor at BU.”… “Really interesting class, I like the way it was taught and what we learned.”… “the class is amazing.” — Anonymous former students

Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006 at 12:51 PM

Advertisements

History Buzz: February 2006

History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

February 27, 2006

HNN STATS THIS WEEK:
MOST POPULAR:
  • Judith Klinghoffer: Blog Post”Buy Danish,” now holds the record for most comments on HNN’s comment boards – over 2200 of them!
BIGGEST STORY:
IN THE NEWS:
REVIEWED:
  • Jeffrey Hart & Bruce Bartlett: The Conservative Imagination – NYT, 2-26-06
  • Jeffrey Hart: The Making of the American Conservative Mind First Chapter – NYT, 2-26-06
  • Tony Judt: Sixty years of malaise, decline Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 Washington Times, 2-26-06
  • Alan Taylor: What the Indians wanted but didn’t get The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American RevolutionWashington Times, 2-26-06
OP-ED:
PROFILED:
INTERVIEWED:
QUOTED:
  • Gaddis Smith: on Lawrence Summers resignition – “Harvard in some ways is a more difficult place to be the president of because it is so large, with so many different constituencies. Yale has a tradition, which sets it off from Harvard, to talk to each other pretty well.” – Yale Daily News, 2-23-06
  • Philip Kuhn: on Lawrence Summers resignition – “Things had reached a point where there weren’t too many good alternatives. There were only bad alternatives. His resigning was bad, and his not resigning was bad. His relationship with the significant portion of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences was not productive. I don’t consider this a good thing for Harvard.” – Yale Daily News, 2-23-06
  • Milton Sernett & Kathryn Grover: Discussing “works of grace” black churches – Finger Lakes Times, 2-26-06
SPOTTED:
ON TV:
  • PBS: “Hijacked” American Experience, (Monday, Feb. 27, 2006 @ 9PM/ET) – PBS
  • History Channel: John Wesley Powell on “Risk Takers, History Makers” (Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006 @ 8PM/ET) – History Channel
  • History Channel: “Rome: Engineering an Empire” and “Roman Vice” (Friday, Mar. 3, 2006 @ 8PM/ET) –
  • C-Span2’s : Charles Sanders, author of The Boys of Winter: Life and Death in the U.S. Ski Troops During the Second World War on BookTV (Mar. 5, 2006 @ 10PM/ET) – C-Span2
  • The History Channel Takes Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Gilder Lehrman Collection on HistoryCENTER (Sunday, Mar. 5, & Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006 @ 8AM/Nationwide) – History Channel
  • History Channel: Black History Month 2006 TV Schedule – History Channel
SELLING BIG (NYT):
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, #10 (17 weeks on list) – 2-26-06
  • David McCullough: 1776, #18 – 2-26-06
  • Taylor Branch: At Canaan’s Edge, #23 – 2-26-06
  • Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster: Parish Priest, #27 – 2-26-06
FUTURE RELEASES:

  • Rick Newman & Don Shepperd: Bury Us Upside Down : The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Feb. 28, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Robert L. McLaughlin, Sally E. Parry: We’ll Always Have the Movies: American Cinema During World War II, Mar. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Michael Burleigh: Earthly Powers : The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe, from the French Revolution to the Great War, Mar. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Liza Picard: Victorian London : The Tale of a City 1840–1870, Mar. 7, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Jerome Armstrong & Markos Moulitsas Zuniga: Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics, Mar. 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Colin G. Calloway: The Scratch of a Pen : 1763 and the Transformation of America, Mar. 31, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Douglas Brinkley: The Great Deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Apr. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Efraim Karsh: Islamic Imperialism : A History, Apr. 11, 2006- Amazon.com
    • Robert Dallek & Terry Golway: Let Every Nation Know, Apr. 17, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Douglas Brinkley: The Great Deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, May 9, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Gordon Wood: Revolutionary Characters : What Made the Founders Different, May 18, 2006 – Amazon.com
    DEPARTED:

    Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006 at 5:54 PM

    February 20, 2006

    HNN STATS THIS WEEK:
    IN THE NEWS:
    REVIEWED:
    OP-ED:
    PROFILED:
    INTERVIEWED:
    QUOTED:
    • Mark F. Fernandez on Mardi Gras: “That’s part of the way New Orleanians deal with stress, they blow off some steam, so to speak.” – AP, 2-19-06
    SPOTTED:
    ON TV:
    • PBS: Conclusion “Reconstruction: The Second Civil War” on American Experience, (Monday, Feb. 20, 2006 @ 10PM/ET) – PBS, WGBH
    • History Channel: “Little Ice Age: The Big Chill” (Friday, Feb. 24, 2006 8-10PM ET/PT) – History Channel
    • PBS: Continuation “Auchwitz: Inside the Nazi State.” (Check local listings) PBS
    • BookTV: David Roll & Keith McFarland discuss Louis Johnson and the Arming of America: The Roosevelt and Truman Years, (Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006 1PM ET) – C-Span
    • History Channel: Black History Month 2006 TV Schedule – historychannel.com
    SELLING BIG (NYT):
    • Taylor Branch: At Canaan’s Edge, #11 (2 weeks on list) – 2-19-06
    • Doris Kearns Goodwin: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, #14 (16 weeks on list) – 2-19-06
    • David McCullough: 1776, #21 – 2-19-06
    • Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster: Parish Priest, #32 – 2-19-06
    FUTURE RELEASES:
    • Deborah Davis: Party of the Century : The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black-and-White Ball, Feb. 24, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Robert L. McLaughlin, Sally E. Parry: We’ll Always Have the Movies: American Cinema During World War II, Mar. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Colin G. Calloway: The Scratch of a Pen : 1763 and the Transformation of America, Mar. 31, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Michael Burleigh: Earthly Powers : The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe, from the French Revolution to the Great War, Mar. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Liza Picard: Victorian London : The Tale of a City 1840–1870, Mar. 7, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Douglas Brinkley: The Great Deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Apr. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Efraim Karsh: Islamic Imperialism : A History, Apr. 11, 2006- Amazon.com
    • Gordon Wood: Revolutionary Characters : What Made the Founders Different, May 18, 2006 – Amazon.com
    HONORED:
    DEPARTED:
    • Robert Peterson: Historian of Negro Leagues Baseball, dies at 80 – NYT, 2-16-06

    Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2006 at 5:08 PM

    February 13, 2006

    HNN STATS THIS WEEK:
    IN THE NEWS:
    REVIEWED:
    OP-ED:
    PROFILED:
    INTERVIEWED:
    QUOTED:
    • Paul George on Miami, Cuba and the lingering Cold War: “It absolutely is a throwback. Cuban exiles are still worried about the Castro issue, and they hinge everything around that issue, the existence of Castro. But the rest of the country has long forgotten that this Cold War period ever happened.” – Monterey Herald, 2-12-06
    • Douglas Brinkley on New Orleans: “The Lower Ninth Ward is kind of the heart and soul of the African-American experience in New Orleans, and what’s New Orleans without the African-American experience? It would be a big statement if we could save the Lower Ninth Ward, and I think some of their cultural photography could be helpful toward that end.” – NYT, 2-9-06
    SPOTTED:
    ON TV:
    • PBS: “Reconstruction: The Second Civil War” on American Experience, (Monday, Feb. 13, 2006 @ 9PM/ET) – PBS, WGBH
    • History Channel “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” (Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006 @ 8PM ET/PT) – History Channel
    • BookTV on C-Span2: Richard Shenkman, Presidential Ambition (Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006 @ 7PM/ET) – C-Span2
    • History Channel: “First to Fight: The Black Tankers of WWII” (Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006 @ 7pm ET/PT History Channel
    • History Channel: Black History Month 2006 TV Schedule – historychannel.com
    SELLING BIG (NYT):
    • Doris Kearns Goodwin: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, #14 (15 weeks on list) – 2-12-06
    • David McCullough: 1776, #18 – 2-12-06
    • Taylor Branch: At Canaan’s Edge, #23 – 2-12-06
    • Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster: Parish Priest, #29 – 2-12-06
    FUTURE RELEASES:
    • Deborah Davis: Party of the Century : The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black-and-White Ball, Feb. 24, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Robert L. McLaughlin, Sally E. Parry: We’ll Always Have the Movies: American Cinema During World War II, Mar. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Colin G. Calloway: The Scratch of a Pen : 1763 and the Transformation of America, Mar. 31, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Michael Burleigh: Earthly Powers : The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe, from the French Revolution to the Great War, Mar. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Liza Picard: Victorian London : The Tale of a City 1840–1870, Mar. 7, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Douglas Brinkley: The Great Deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Apr. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Efraim Karsh: Islamic Imperialism : A History, Apr. 11, 2006- Amazon.com
    • Larry Schweikart: America’s Victories: Why the U.S. Wins Wars and Will Win the War on Terror, May 18, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Gordon Wood: Revolutionary Characters : What Made the Founders Different, May 18, 2006 – Amazon.com
    HONORED:
    DEPARTED:

    Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 at 5:42 PM

    February 6, 2006

    HNN STATS THIS WEEK:
    MOST POPULAR:
    • OP-ED: Lewis Gould: “Abolish the State of the Union Address” – Washington Post, 1-29-06
    • Lewis Gould: OP-ED mentioned in White House Press Briefing, Jan. 30, 2006 – Whitehouse.govLewis Gould: OP-ED discussed in Newshour with Jim Lehrer State of the Union Preview – PBS Newshour, 1-30-06
    • Lewis Gould: Appeared on Al Sharpton’s “Keeping It Real” and ABC Nightline discussing his OP-ED, & State of the Union, Jan. 31, 2006.
    IN THE NEWS:
    REVIEWED:
    • Taylor Branch: At Canaan’s Edge, The Whirlwinds of Revolt – NYT, 2-5-06
    • Taylor Branch: At Canaan’s Edge Featured First Chapter – NYT, 2-5-06
    • Taylor Branch: King’s lost dream – Salon.com, 2-1-06
    • Taylor Branch: Tragic, But Not in Vain, The Final Years of King’s Life – NY Observer, 2-6-06
    • Michael Kazin: A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings BryanLA Times, 2-5-06
    • Alan Wolfe on Michael Kazin: A GODLY HERO The Life of William Jennings Bryan, The Common Touch – Washington Post, 2-5-06
    • Walter Isaacson on James Risen: State of War, Spies and Spymasters – NYT, 2-5-06
    • Fred Barnes: REBEL-IN-CHIEF Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush, The Vision Thing – Washington Post, 2-5-06
    • Eugene Genovese: Divine Rights – New Republic, 2-6-06
    • Leonard Steinhorn: The Greater Generation, Talkin’ bout my generation – Salon.com, 2-3-06
    • David Levering Lewis on Richard Slotkin: Lost Battalions, The Race to War – The Nation, 2-2-06
    OP-ED:
    PROFILED:
    INTERVIEWED:
    QUOTED:
    • Steve Gillon on the Baby Boomers: “It’s a generation that grew up in a unique historical moment: at the end of World War II, when there was prosperity, a sense of expectation and hope about the future. So it’s a generation that was born with a sense of entitlement…” – CBS News, 2-5-06
    • Taylor Branch on the Passing of Coretta Scott King: “This is the last of the pioneers that will have worldwide resonance from that period.” – Baltimore Sun, 2-1-06
    SPOTTED:
    ON TV:
    • African American Lives: Searching for Our Names/ Beyond The Middle Passage PBS, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 9pm ET – PBS
    • American Experience: Jesse James, PBS, Monday. Feb. 6, 9pm ET – PBS
    • Declassified: Castro – The Survivor, History Channel, Thursday, Feb. 9, 10pm ET/PT – History Channel
    • History Channel: Black History Month 2006 TV Schedule – historychannel.com
    SELLING BIG (NYT):
    • Doris Kearns Goodwin: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, #15 (14 weeks on list) – 2-5-06
    • David McCullough: 1776, #18 – 2-5-06
    • Taylor Branch: At Canaan’s Edge, #23 – 2-5-06
    • Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster: Parish Priest, #29 – 2-5-06
    FUTURE RELEASES:
    • James L. Swanson: Manhunt : The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, February 7, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Deborah Davis: Party of the Century : The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black-and-White Ball, Feb. 24, 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Robert L. McLaughlin, Sally E. Parry: We’ll Always Have the Movies: American Cinema During World War II, Mar. 2006 – Amazon.com
    • Douglas Brinkley: The Great Deluge : Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Apr. 1, 2006 – Amazon.com
    HONORED:
    DEPARTED:

    Posted on Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 4:40 PM

    %d bloggers like this: