Linda Gordon is a professor of history and a University Professor of the Humanities at New York University. Her early books focused on the historical roots of social policy issues, particularly as they concern gender and family issues. More recently, she has explored other ways of presenting history to a broad audience, publishing the microhistory The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction (Harvard University Press, 1999) and the biography Dorothea Lange: A Life beyond Limits (W.W. Norton, 2009), both of which won the Bancroft Prize. She is one of only three historians to have won this award twice.
Gordon is writing about social movements in the 20th-century United States, including not only progressive movements such as the New Left and the women's liberation movement, but also right-wing movements such as the Ku Klux Klan. She is also examining New Deal (1930s) artists and photographers as part of an artistic social movement, considering the contributions and limitations of art that attempts to support social justice.
Gordon holds a BA from Swarthmore College and a PhD from Yale University. She has won many prizes and fellowships, including the Albert J. Beveridge Award for best history book on any part of the Americas, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in biography; American Council of Learned Societies, Bunting Institute, and Guggenheim fellowships; and a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health for her work on family violence.