Saturday, March 2, 2013- 8:00 PM
Jill Lepore, our special lecturer in honor of Lexington’s 300th anniversary, will speak on Benjamin Franklin’s sister,who shares a birth year with our town and was a lively correspondent during the Revolution. Jill Lepore is a professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at the New Yorker. She is the prize-winning author of many enthralling books on American history from colonial times to the present, including The Mansion of Happiness (2012), on the board game of Life and Life in America.
JILL LEPORE is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History, Harvard College Professor, and chair of Harvard’s History and Literature Program. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker.
Lepore’s research focuses on the histories of war and violence and of language and literacy. Most of her work explores absences and asymmetries of evidence in the historical record. Lepore’s biography of Benjamin Franklin’s sister, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, will be published in October 2013. Her previous books include The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death (Knopf, 2012), a finalist for the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction; The Story of America: Essays on Origins (Princeton, 2012); The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle for American History (Princeton, 2010); New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (Knopf, 2005), winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity (Knopf, 1998), winner of the Bancroft Prize; and Blindspot (Spiegel and Grau, 2008), a novel written jointly with Jane Kamensky, and a Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.
Lepore received 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. Her dissertation was awarded the American Studies Association’s Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize. In 1999, she co-founded the magazine Common-place. Her essays and reviews have also appeared in the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, American Scholar, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Smithsonian Magazine, the Journal of American History and American Quarterly. Her work has been widely reprinted, including in anthologies of the best technology writing and the best legal writing, and has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Latvian. Her research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the Charles Warren Center, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Lepore has been involved in a number of public history projects, including serving as a consultant for the National Park Service. In 2012-13 she was a Visiting Scholar of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and in 2013-16 she is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians. She currently serves on the boards of the National Portrait Gallery and the Society of American Historians.