Dr. Robert Gross

On Tuesday, July 10, we will meet Dr. Robert Gross (University of Connecticut), whose Minutemen and Their World we read as the Holiday Book Study, at the Concord Museum. Dr. Gross will give a presentation entitled, "Concord and the American Revolution."

A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Robert A. Gross received the B.A. in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966 and the M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1976) in history from Columbia University. He taught at Amherst College (1976-88), the University of Sussex (1981-83) and the College of William and Mary (1988-2003) before coming to UConn. He is the recipient of various national awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim, Howard, and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Antiquarian Society.

Prof. Gross specializes in the social and cultural history of the U.S., from the colonial era through the nineteenth century. His first book on the American Revolution, //The Minutemen and Their World// (1976), won the Bancroft Prize in American History; it was issued in a 25th anniversary edition in 2001. He has continued studies of the Revolutionary era in such works as In Debt to Shays: The Bicentennial of an Agrarian Rebellion (1993). For two decades he has been deeply involved in the interdisciplinary field known as the history of the book, serving on the editorial board for the multi-volume History of the Book in America published by the University of North Carolina Press and co-editing with Mary Kelley the second volume of the series, "An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840," (2010). His other recent work examines New England writers -- notably, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson -- in historical context. From that project has come The Transcendentalists and Their World, to be published by Hill & Wang.

A onetime journalist at Newsweek and free-lance writer for Harper's, Saturday Review, and Book World, Prof. Gross addresses his scholarship to academic and general audiences alike. He has consulted on museum exhibitions and documentary films, lectured as a Fulbright scholar in Brazil, Denmark, Italy, and the Netherlands, devised public humanities programs for the Bicentennial of the Constitution, directed a NEH summer institute at William and Mary to commemorate the life and thought of Thomas Jefferson, and spoken frequently in NEH and Teaching American History programs for community college and K-12 teachers. He has served as chair of the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture at the American Antiquarian Society and as book review editor of the William and Mary Quarterly.
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Dr. Pauline Maier

On Wednesday, July 11, we will meet Dr. Pauline Maier (MIT-Massachusetts Institute of Technology) at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Dr. Maier will give a presentation entitled, "American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence."
Pauline Maier is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1968. Her book publications include From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 (1972), The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams (1980), and The American People: A History (1986), a textbook for junior-high-school students. In 1997 Alfred A. Knopf published her American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, which appeared as a Vintage paperback the next year. That book examines the development of independence, the drafting and editing of the Declaration of Independence, and the document's transformation during the early nineteenth century from a revolutionary manifesto into a statement of principles for established governments, including, above all, that of the United States. The book also examines some ninety state and local "declarations of independence" written between April and July 1776 that had been generally forgotten but, she argues, often made a better case for independence than the Declaration Thomas Jefferson drafted for the Second Continental Congress. American Scripture was on the New York Times Book Review editors "Choice" list of the best 11 books of 1997 and a finalist in General Nonfiction for the National Book Critics' Circle Award. In 1998 she received MIT's Killian Award, given annually to one senior faculty member for outstanding achievement.

In October 2010, Simon and Shuster published Ratification. The People Debate the Constitution. 1787-1788, a book on which she has been working for nearly a decade. The Wall Street Journal listed it among the top ten books of the year, and the New York Times Book Review included it among 100 "notable" books of 2010. It won the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award for "the best, newly published work on the American Revolutionary period, combining original scholarship, insight and good writing, published in the preceding year" (shared with Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life) and the George Washington Book Prize, which "was instituted in 2005 and is awarded annually to the best book on America's founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history.

At MIT she teaches courses on American History to 1865, the American Revolution, American Classics (in which students read "classic" works in American History such as Benjamin Franklin's autobiography or the journals of Lewis and Clark), and (with Prof. Robert M. Fogelson) Riots, Strikes, and Conspiracies in American History.

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