Mary Beth Norton
Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History
Office Hours: By Appointment
Research and Teaching Interests
From the early 1980s to 2011 I focused on a large-scale project that examined the interplay of gender, society, and politics in America from the beginnings of settlement to approximately 1750. These works, taken together, in effect constituted the 'prequel' to my 1980 monograph, Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800. I published three books-Founding Mothers & Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society (1996); In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (2002); and Separated by their Sex: Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World (2011)-as a part of that project.
Currently, I have returned to the revolutionary era, the subject of Liberty's Daughters and my first book (my revised dissertation), The British-Americans: The Loyalist Exiles in England, 1774-1789 (1972), for my next work, which will focus intensively on the period just prior to the outbreak of fighting in April 1775.
In May 2015, I delivered the second annual invited lecture for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, Va. The lecture was entitled The Seventh Tea Ship; or, A Tale of Shipwrecked Sailors, Combative Communities, and a Fractured Family. This was the first time I publicly discussed my new research findings.
I am looking forward to co-teaching the university common course History/Astronomy 1700, History of Exploration: Land, Sea, Space, with Steve Squyres, principal investigator for the Mars rover Opportunity, and member of the team for the new rover Curiosity, once again.
I started phased retirement in January 2014 and am no longer accepting graduate students.
For more information and links to current courses, go to: History's Courses Page
Courses Taught at Cornell University
HIST 1700 History of Exploration: Land, Sea, and Space
HIST 2090 The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692
HIST 2720 Atlantic World
HIST 2730 Women in American Society, Past and Present
HIST 3210 The Origins of Multicultural America
HIST 3250 The Age of American Revolution, 1754-1815
Ph.D. Harvard University, 1969
M.A. Harvard University, 1965
B.A. University of Michigan, 1964
Books and Recent Awards
Separated by their Sex: Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World (Cornell University Press, 2011).
In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002; Vintage paperback, 2003).
Founding Mothers & Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996; Vintage paperback, 1997).
ed., The American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature, 3d ed. (Oxford University Press, 1995).
ed., Major Problems in American Women's History (1st ed. D.C. Heath, 1989; 2d ed. [with Ruth Alexander], Houghton Mifflin, 1995; 3d ed. [with Ruth Alexander], Houghton Mifflin, 2003; 4th ed. [with Ruth Alexander], Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
ed. (with Carol Groneman), To Toil the Livelong Day: America's Women at Work, 1790‑1980 (Cornell University Press, 1987).
(with 5 others) A People and a Nation (Houghton Mifflin, 1st ed., l982; 2nd ed., 1986; 3rd ed., 1990; 4th ed., 1994; 5th ed., 1998; 6th ed., 2001; 7th ed., 2005; 8th ed., 2008; 9th ed., Cengage/Wadsworth, 2011); Japanese translation, 1996.
Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, l750‑1800 (Boston: Little, Brown, l980; Cornell University Press, 1996).
ed. (with Carol Berkin), Women of America: A History (Houghton Mifflin, l979).
The British‑Americans: The Loyalist Exiles in England, l774‑l789 (Little, Brown, 1972; London: Constable and Co., 1974).
L.A. Times Distinguished Fellowship, Huntington Library, 2008-9.
2008 Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellowship
Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Huntington Library, spring 2001.
Starr Foundation Fellowship, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, Fall 2000.
Ambassador Book Award in American Studies, 2003, English-Speaking Union.
Finalist, LA Times book prize in History, 2003.
Finalist, Pulitzer Prize in History, 1997.