Annette Gordon-Reed Named Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute

April 30, 2010

Pat Harrison

Cambridge, Mass. - Award-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed will join the Harvard faculty in July 2010 as the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, as a professor of law at Harvard Law School and as a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Gordon-Reed, who earned a JD from Harvard Law School in 1984, comes to Harvard from the New York Law School, where she was the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law, and from Rutgers University, Newark, where she was the Board of Governors Professor of History. She served as the Charles Warren Visiting Professor of American Legal History during the fall term of 2009 at Harvard Law School. During the spring 2010 term, Gordon-Reed has served as a visiting professor of law at New York University School of Law.

Said Gordon-Reed: "I am enormously pleased to become a part of the Harvard community once again. I look forward to working with the students and faculty members at the Law School and in the History Department and to experiencing the rich interdisciplinary environment at the Radcliffe Institute."

Barbara J. Grosz, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, said of the appointment, "I'm thrilled that Annette Gordon-Reed will join us as the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute." Reflecting on Gordon-Reed's interest in the Institute's cross-disciplinary community of scholars, scientists and artists, Grosz said, "I very much look forward to her participation in the Institute's Fellowship Program and the activities of our Academic Engagement Programs.

"I'm extraordinarily grateful to Mrs. Pforzheimer and her family for establishing the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professorship and for their strong commitment to the Radcliffe Institute from its earliest days 10 years ago," Grosz said. The Carol K. Pforzheimer Professorship-which will allow Gordon-Reed to spend four semesters at the Radcliffe Institute during her first five years at Harvard-was established by the Pforzheimer family in 2002 and named for Radcliffe College alumna Carol K. Pforzheimer '31.

"I celebrate the fact that Annette Gordon-Reed has accepted our invitation to join the Harvard Law School faculty," said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. "Her extraordinary scholarship combines intensive archival research, brilliant lawyerly analysis and tremendous historical imagination as well as a gift for writing riveting prose. Long proud of our own graduate, we here at the law school are delighted she will join our faculty and also participate in the life of the University through affiliations with Radcliffe and the history department. Colleagues, students, and aspiring scholars rejoice over the chance to work with her as she deepens historical understanding of law, slavery and the human experience."

"I'm very pleased that a scholar of Annette Gordon-Reed's ability and depth will be joining the history department," said Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "And I am excited that Harvard College students will have the opportunity to learn directly from an award-winning historian and renowned legal scholar."

Gordon-Reed is the author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (1997), which examines the scholarly writing on the relationships between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. The book was a nonfiction finalist in the First Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Gordon-Reed's most recent book, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008), which traces the lives of four generations of a slave family, won numerous awards, including the National Book Award for nonfiction, the Pulitzer Prize in history, the SHEAR (Society for Historians of the Early American Republic) Book Prize, the George Washington Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the NJCH (New Jersey Council of the Humanities) Book Award, the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, the 12th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Award and the Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Award from the Southern Historical Association. The Hemingses of Monticello was also a biography finalist for the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award. Two more books, Jefferson: A Reader on Race and Andrew Johnson, are forthcoming.

In addition to her extensive writing on slavery and Thomas Jefferson, Gordon-Reed is also the coauthor of Vernon Can Read!: A Memoir (2001), which was written with Vernon Jordan, Jr., and received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. She is editor of Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History (2002).

Among Gordon-Reed's many honors are the National Humanities Medal for 2009, a Guggenheim Fellowship in the humanities (2009), a fellowship at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library (2010-2011), and the National Organization for Women in New York City's Woman of Power and Influence Award (1999).

Gordon-Reed is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves on the Thomas Jefferson Foundation's Advisory Committee for the Robert Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies and on the advisory group on African-American Interpretation at Monticello, among other professional affiliations.

Prior to becoming an academic, Gordon-Reed was counsel to the New York City Board of Correction from 1987 to 1992. In this capacity, she helped to formulate policies, grievance procedures and legislation affecting inmates. After graduation from Harvard Law School, she was an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York.

While a student at Harvard Law School, Gordon-Reed served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review. In addition to her JD, she holds an AB from Dartmouth College in history and an honorary doctor of letters from Ramapo College. She will receive an honorary degree from the College of William and Mary on May 16, 2010.

About the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is a scholarly community where individuals pursue advanced work across a wide range of academic disciplines, professions and creative arts. Within this broad purpose, the Institute sustains a continuing commitment to the study of women, gender and society.

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