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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Historian to Speak Sept. 27

By Erika Mantz, Media Relations
September 19, 2007

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and former UNH professor, will speak Thursday, Sept. 27, at 12:40 p.m. in the MUB, Theater II, on a topic that some will have seen on bumper stickers in New Hampshire: “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History.”

Ulrich coined the phrase in an early article, and it is the title of her newest book, just published by Knopf. The lecture, free and open the public, is the third in a two-year long series, “The Historian and the Public,” sponsored by the museum studies program of the department of history. The lecture series brings to campus historians, museum professionals, film-makers, and others to discuss ways to bring the best in historical scholarship to a public eager to know its past.

Ulrich earned her Ph.D. in history at UNH, and she taught here for a decade. During her UNH career, she published her most celebrated work, “A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812.” In addition to the Pulitzer Prize in history, “A Midwife’s Tale” won numerous other awards for scholarly distinction, including the Bancroft Prize.

Ulrich’s other books include “The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth,” and “Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750.” Currently she is the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University.

Ulrich’s newest book is, in part, a survey of major figures in the history of feminism, but she also describes it as “a celebration of popular engagement with history,” one that show how new issues in the 1960s and 1970s “created a renaissance in scholarship.”

The museum studies program in the department of history, directed by professor Robert Macieski, trains M.A. graduate students to work with museums, historical societies, and similar public history institutions. The department recognizes that many Americans are more likely to learn their history in museums, or from documentary films, than from the publications of scholars. The program is designed to give students special training and experience in museum settings, while at the same time providing a solid academic grounding in the best historical scholarship.

Ulrich’s lecture will be followed by questions from the audience, then a brief reception, in the same room. Copies of “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History” will be available for purchase and signing.

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