Drew Faust: She makes history





... Faust, who attended Bryn Mawr College as an undergraduate before entering Penn’s graduate program in American civilization, will also be the first Harvard president since 1672 without a degree from this school.

Until 2001, her academic career had been confined to Penn. She taught there ever since she received her Ph.D. in 1975 and she became the Annenberg professor of history in 1989. From 1996 to 2001, she served as director of women’s studies.

When Faust was appointed to lead the Radcliffe Institute, she also received tenure in Harvard’s History Department.

[University Professor Laurel Thatcher] Ulrich says that everyone was “totally enthusiastic” to name Faust the Lincoln professor of history, an appropriate title for an expert on the Civil War.

Faust’s husband, Charles Rosenberg, the former chair of the Penn History Department who is best known for his work on cholera in 19th century America, also moved to Harvard and is now the Monrad professor of social sciences here. One of the couple’s two daughters, Jessica M. Rosenberg, graduated from Harvard College in 2004 and was co-president of the Radcliffe Union of Students.

Faust, raised in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, has devoted her scholarly career to the study of the South—with particular attention to issues of gender and race.

“She is clearly one of the most distinguished historians in the country,” Hahn says.

Her 1982 biography of a South Carolina plantation owner and senator, “James Henry Hammond and the Old South: A Design for Mastery,” won the Southern Historical Association’s prize for the year’s best book.

And “Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War,” her study of 500 white women’s wartime letters, won the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded to the best book in American history each year.

She also recently completed a book about death in the Civil War, which had the largest number of casualties in American history.

But Radcliffe has forced Faust to become something of an academic jack-of-all-trades—an asset which will help her as the University seeks to expand its science initiatives. ...


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