Illustrious Brandeis History Alumna Nancy F. Cott Begins Term as Organization of American Historians President

April 26, 2016

Nancy F. Cott, Brandeis PhD 1974 and the Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University, began her term as the president of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) with a ceremonial passing of the gavel at the conclusion of the group's annual business meeting on April 9 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Ever since publishing her Brandeis dissertation as The Bonds of Womanhood: "Woman's Sphere" in New England, 1780-1835 (1977), Nancy Cott has been an intellectual leader in the field of American history, ranging more and more widely with each new project, and advising students who have gone on to great success, including former Brandeis historian Jane Kamensky. Cott's later books include, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (1987), and Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (2000). She is currently working on a study of youthful Americans working abroad between the two world wars, during decades of global struggle for predominance between democracy, communism and fascism.

Cott has taught at Harvard since 2002, when she joined its faculty as the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library in the Radcliffe Institute, and professor of history. Prior to that, she taught at Yale University for more than 25 years, departing as Sterling Professor of History and American Studies. She was one of the founders of Yale's Women's Studies Program, which she chaired for many years, and also served as chair of the American Studies Program.

A member of OAH's Distinguished Lectureship Program, Cott frequently lectures on the history of marriage in the United States and also on the generation that came of age in the 1920s. Of her selection as OAH president, David Engerman, Ottilie Springer Professor of History and Department Chair states, "It's wonderful that the OAH has seen fit to add the mantle of organizational leadership to Nancy's many and varied accomplishments. We celebrate Nancy's achievements, which led her to this honor, and wish her a successful year as OAH president."