Jill Lepore
Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History and chair of the History and Literature Program.  She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker.  Her first book, The Name of War, won the Bancroft Prize; her most recent non-fiction book, New York Burning, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale in 1995, an M.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 1990 and a B.A. in English from Tufts University in 1987. She is an elected member of the Society of American Historians, for which she serves on the Executive Board, and a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians. She serves on the Board of Commissioners of the National Portrait Gallery and on the Board of Trustees of the National Council for History Education. A co-founder of the magazine, Common-place, Lepore has also served as a consultant for the National Park Service and for many other public history projects. In 2011-12 she will be a Visiting Scholar of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Her scholarship focuses on language, cruelty, and race, and has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.  Her current books-in-progress include a history of Dickens's American tour; a biography of Benjamin Franklin's sister; and a series of essays about how historians write.

Selected Publications

  • "Poor Jane's Almanac," New York Times, April 24, 2011.
  • Contributions to The New Yorker
  • The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death (New York: Knopf, forthcoming).
  • The Whites of Their Eyes:  The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, October 2010). New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. For inquiries, please email Sarah E. Caldwell.
  • "How Longfellow Woke the Dead," The American Scholar, 81 (Spring 2011): 33-46.
  • "Paul Revere's Ride against Slavery," New York Times, December 19, 2010.
  • "How to Write a Paper for This Class," Historically Speaking, January 2010.
  • "Boundless Promise and Grave Peril," Washington Post, November 30, 2009.
  • "Lost and Found," Times Literary Supplement, November 27, 2009.
  • Blindspot, a novel written jointly with Jane Kamensky (New York:  Spiegel and Grau, 2008; Random House Readers' Circle edition, 2009).  New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice.
  • Websterisms:  A Collection of Words and Definitions Set Forth by the Founding Father of American English,compiled by Arthur Schulman with an introduction by Jill Lepore (New York:  The Free Press, 2008).
  • New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan  (New York:  Knopf, 2005; Vintage, 2006).  Pulitzer Prize Finalist; Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award.
  •  “The Tightening Vise:  Slavery and Freedom in British New York,” in Enslaved City:  Slavery, Resistance and Abolition in New York City, 1623 to 1865,” edited by Ira Berlin and Leslie Harris (New York:  The Free Press, 2005).
  • “Writing for History:  Journalism, History, and the Revival of Narrative,” in Why We Write, edited by James Downs (New York:  Routledge, 2005).
  • Reckoning,” Common-place, January 2003.
  • A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States (New York:  Knopf, 2002; Vintage 2003).
  • “Literacy and Reading in Puritan New England,” in Perspectives on Book History:  Artifacts and Commentary, edited by Scott Casper, Joanne Chaison and Jeffrey Groves (Amherst:  University of Massachusetts Press, 2002):  17-46.
  • Plagiarize This,” Common-place, April 2002.
  • “Wigwam Words,” The American Scholar 70 (Winter 2001):  97-108.
  • “Historians Who Love Too Much:  Reflections on Microhistory and Biography,” Journal of American History 88 (June 2001):  129-144.
  • Encounters in the New World: A History in Documents(New York:  Oxford University Press, 1999).
  • The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity (New York:  Knopf, 1998; Vintage, 1999).  Winner of the Bancroft Prize, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, the Berkshire Prize, and a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Award.
  • “Dead Men Tell No Tales: John Sassamon and the Fatal Consequences of Literacy,” American Quarterly 46 (December 1994): 479-512.
Jill Lepore

Position: David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History

Field: United States

Specialty: American History and Literature

Fall 2011:
- Freshman Seminar 36n Dickens in America

Spring 2012:
History 97. Sophomore Tutorial
- History 1404 The American Revolution: Conference Course

Contact Info

Robinson Hall

Room 209

35 Quincy Street

Cambridge, MA 02138



Office Hours: Wednesday 12:00-2:00