U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Pauline Maier (1938-2013)

We’ve just heard the sad news from David Armitage that Pauline Maier, who was the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of American History at M.I.T., passed away today, following a battle with lung cancer.  As readers of this blog no doubt know, she was one of the premier historians of the Revolutionary era. And she had a particular interest in political thought. Her last book, Ratification (2010), dealt with the process by which the U.S. Constitution was ratified by the states, with a particular eye to the local debates over the document.  It was also the subject of a terrific keynote address that she gave at our 2011 conference in New York City.  The U.S Intellectual History Blog will have more to say on Maier’s work and legacy in ensuing days and weeks.  Today our thoughts are with her family, colleagues, and those who knew her well.

4 Thoughts on this Post

  1. Terrific Historian and deeply researched book, full of wit and wisdom. I wish I could have taken a class from her.

  2. I saw her in action at the AHA a few years ago. She was great, witty and acute. Her book The Old Revolutionaries remains one of my favorites. A huge loss for her field, but also for history generally.

  3. This is an extremely sad day for me. I cherished American Scripture, and had the good fortune to read proofs of Ratification. I never met Professor Maier, but I corresponded with her for years, and I enjoyed “seeing” her on various programs. We have lost a giant who made history fun, and who made original documents essential to present understanding. Ratification should start a national inquiry on how to approach constitutional interpretation, and how to stop the silliness of originalism. I am literally heartsick, but so blessed to have known this wonderful person albeit through email.

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