Jill Lepore

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Jill Lepore
Born (1966-08-27) August 27, 1966 (age 55)
Nationality American
Institutions Harvard University (2003-)
Boston University
University of California, San Diego 1995-1996
Alma mater Tufts University
University of Michigan
Yale University
Notable awards Bancroft Prize (1999)

Jill Lepore (born August 27, 1966) is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University.[1] She is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where she has contributed since 2005. She writes about American history, law, literature, and politics.

Her essays and reviews have also appeared in the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the Journal of American History, Foreign Affairs, the Yale Law Journal, American Scholar, and the American Quarterly. Three of her books derive from her New Yorker essays: The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death (2012), a finalist for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction; The Story of America: Essays on Origins (2012), shortlisted for the PEN Literary Award for the Art of the Essay; and The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle for American History (2010). The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014) is a winner of the 2015 American History Book Prize.


Early life

Lepore was born and grew up in West Boylston, a small town outside of Worcester, Massachusetts. Although she had no early desire to become a historian, she claims to have wanted to be a writer from the age of six. Lepore entered college with an ROTC scholarship, starting as a math major. Eventually she left ROTC and changed her major to English.[2]

Lepore earned her B.A. in English from Tufts University in 1987, an M.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 1990, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1995, where she specialized in the history of early America.[3]


Lepore taught at the University of California-San Diego from 1995 to 1996 and at Boston University from 1996 before starting at Harvard in 2003.[4][5] In addition to her books and articles on history, in 2008 Lepore published a historical novel, Blindspot, written with co-author Jane Kamensky, a history professor at Brandeis University. Previously, Lepore and Kamensky had co-founded an online history journal called Common-place.[2] Lepore is now a history professor at Harvard University, where she teaches American political history. She focuses on missing evidence in historical records and articles.[6]

Lepore gathers historical evidence that allows scholars to study and analyze political processes and behaviors. Her articles are often both historical and political. She has said, "History is the art of making an argument about the past by telling a story accountable to evidence".[7]

Lepore has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2005.[8] She posts a bibliography with sources for some of her New Yorker articles on her website.

From 2011 to 2013, Lepore was a visiting scholar of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She has delivered Theodore H. White Lecture on the Press and Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government (2015), the John L. Hatfield Lecture at Lafayette College (2015), the Lewis Walpole Library Lecture at Yale (2013), the Harry F. Camp Memorial Lecture at Stanford (2013), the University of Kansas Humanities Lecture (2013), the Joanna Jackson Goldman Memorial Lectures at the New York Public Library (2012), the Kephardt Lecture at Villanova (2011), the Stafford-Little Lecture at Princeton (2010), and the Walker Horizon Lecture at DePauw (2009). She is the president of the Society of American Historians and an Emeritus Commissioner of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. She has been a consultant and contributor to documentary and public history projects. Her three-part story, "The Search for Big Brown," was broadcast on The New Yorker Radio Hour in 2015.

Awards and honors



  • Lepore, Jill (1998). The name of war : King Philip's War and the origins of American identity. New York: Knopf.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • —, ed. (2000). Encounters in the New World : a history in documents. New York: Oxford University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States, 2002.
  • New York Burning: Liberty and Slavery in an Eighteenth-Century City, 2005.
  • Blindspot: A Novel, with Jane Kamensky, 2008.
  • The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History, Princeton University Press, 2010.
  • The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death, 2012.
  • The Story of America: Essays on Origins, 2012.
  • Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, 2013.
  • The Secret History of Wonder Woman, 2014.[19]
  • Joe Gould's Teeth. 2016.

Essays and reporting

See also


  1. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Public Historian - A Conversation with Jill Lepore". Humanities Magazine. September–October 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Jill Lepore", Faculty, Harvard University, accessed 12 Oct 2010.
  4. "Jill Lepore". Harvard Open Scholar. Retrieved 19 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Lepore, Jill (1999). The Name of War. Vintage. pp. Preface. ISBN 978-0375702624.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Biography". Harvard University. Harvard University. Retrieved 15 April 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Lepore, Jill (2014). Story of America : essays on origins. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. p. 15. ISBN 9780691159591.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "The New Yorker - Contributors". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Hale Award Winners Webpage
  10. http://www.pen.org/content/pendiamonstein-spielvogel-award-art-essay-10000
  11. "2013 National Book Award Finalists Announced". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  12. "2013 National Book Awards". NBF. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  13. Bill Ott (June 30, 2013). "Richard Ford and Timothy Egan Win Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction". Booklist. Retrieved March 17, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Annalisa Pesek (July 3, 2013). "2013 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction". Library Journal. Retrieved March 17, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "ALA Unveils 2013 Finalists for Andrew Carnegie Medals". Publishers Weekly. April 22, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "A new class of American Fellows". Arts Beat Blog. The New York Times. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Lukas Prizes: Past Winners and Jurors - Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism". www.journalism.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2016-04-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Jennifer Schuessler (February 17, 2015). "A Book Prize for Wonder Woman". New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Garner, Dwight (October 23, 2014). "Books - Her Past Unchained 'The Secret History of Wonder Woman,' by Jill Lepore". New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links