Nancy F. Cott, the Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University, began her term as the 110th president of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) for 2016-2017 on April 9.
Outgoing OAH President Jon Butler passed the ceremonial gavel to Cott after concluding the group’s annual business meeting earlier this month in Providence, Rhode Island.
Cott’s writings range widely over questions concerning women, gender, marriage, feminism, and citizenship from the eighteenth century to the contemporary United States. Her books include The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman’s Sphere” in New England, 1780-1835 (1977), 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, commnism 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. Between 1999 and 2001 she was the Director of the Humanities Division.
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. She is a graduate of Cornell University (B.A. 1967) and Brandeis University (Ph.D. 1974). She is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.