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Union University Dept of History

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Dr. Pauline Maier from MIT Will Serve as the 2011 Carls-Schwerdfeger History Lecturer on October 11

Aug 15, 2011

Dr. Pauline Maier, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a prize-winning author, will serve as the 2011 Carls-Schwerdfeger History Lecturer on Tuesday, October 11. Dr. Maier will speak twice on topics related to the founding of the United States in the late 18th century. Her main lecture, titled “Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Why Should We Care?” will be at 7:15 p.m. in Union’s G. M. Savage Memorial Chapel. This lecture is free and open to the public. She will also present a talk on “Who Wrote the Declaration of Independence?” at 1:40 p.m. in the Carl Grant Events Center, Salon 2.

Dr. Maier is an eminent historian of American history who has written several books and numerous articles on the American Revolution and Early Republic. Her most recent book is Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (2010), for which she won the George Washington Book Prize in 2011. This monograph also received the 2011 Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award, and it was a finalist for the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. Another of her highly acclaimed works is American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (1997); it was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Critics Circle Award and was listed among the New York Times’ Best Books of the Year for 1997. Other books that Professor Maier has authored or co-authored include: Inventing America: A History of the United States (co-author, second edition, 2005); The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States (author of 25-page introduction, 1998); The American People: A History (1986); The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams (1980); and From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain,1765-1776 (1972). She has also published scholarly articles in historical journals such as the William and Mary Quarterly and the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, and written book reviews for the New York Times and Washington Post.

Professor Maier’s accomplishments go well beyond her scholarly writings. She has appeared as a commentator in American Revolutionary documentaries produced for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the History Channel, and acted as an advisor for a PBS documentary mini-series on Benjamin Franklin. She has also been a guest on the Charlie Rose Show. In 1998, MIT recognized her outstanding achievement as a senior faculty member by awarding her its prestigious Killian Award. Dr. Maier is a longtime member of the American Antiquarian Society, and in 2010 she was elected an honorary member in the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, one of two women to receive that distinction since 1947. She is currently the president of the Society of American Historians, an affiliate of the American Historical Association.

After receiving a BA in history and literature from Radcliffe College, Dr. Maier studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics. She then returned to the United States where she earned her Ph.D. in history at Harvard University. Her teaching career began at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, followed by a time at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She then went to MIT, where she has taught for many years. She has also served as a visiting professor of history at Yale University.