See also Cott's faculty profile on Harvard’s Department of History website.
Nancy F. Cott became the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University in 2002. Between 1975 and 2001, she taught at Yale University, beginning as an assistant professor and departing as the Sterling Professor of History and American Studies. At Yale, she was among the founders of the women’s studies program in the late 1970s and chaired that program from 1980 to 1987; she chaired the American studies program from 1994 to 1997 and was director of the Division of the Humanities between 1999 and 2001. At Harvard, she teaches courses in US history focusing on gender issues.
Cott’s books include The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman’s Sphere” in New England, 1780–1835 (Yale University Press, 1977), The Grounding of Modern Feminism (Yale University Press, 1987), A Woman Making History: Mary Ritter Beard Through Her Letters (Yale University Press, 1991), and Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Harvard University Press, 2000). Her articles have appeared in The American Historical Review, American Quarterly, Feminist Studies, Journal of American History, Journal of Social History, William and Mary Quarterly, The Yale Review, and Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
Cott has held research fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Guggenheim Foundation, Harvard Law School, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2001, she was a Fulbright lecturer in Japan. In 2003–2004, Cott held the French-American Foundation professorship at the Centre d’etudes nord-americaines, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. She has served on the executive board of the Organization of American Historians, on the National Council of the American Studies Association, and on numerous editorial boards of journals and reference works, such as the American National Biography and Notable American Women. Cott has also been an advisor for documentary films and public television productions and has lectured on college campuses and at academic conferences around the world. She graduated magna cum laude in history from Cornell University and earned a PhD in the history of American civilization at Brandeis University.
As the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library, Cott provides intellectual direction for the library’s acquisitions and aligns its collecting policies and outreach programs with current scholarly research trends.