April 30, 2010
Award-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed J.D. ’84 will join the Harvard faculty in July 2010 as a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Gordon-Reed will also be the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Gordon-Reed—recipient of the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize in History, and a National Humanities Medal—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.
“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.”
Barbara J. Grosz, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, said: “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 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 finalist for the First Annual Library of Virginia Award. Gordon-Reed’s most recent book, The Hemingses of Monticello (2008), which traces the lives of four generations of a slave family, won numerous awards, including the National Book Award for Non-Fiction, the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Book Award, the George Washington Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the New Jersey Council of the Humanities Book Award, the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, the Library of Virginia Literary Award, and the Southern Historical Association Owsley Award. The Hemingses of Monticello was also a 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 co-author 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).
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.”
Among Gordon-Reed’s many honors are: The National Humanities Medal for 2009, a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Humanities (2009); a Fellowship at the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library (2010-1011), NOW’s Woman of Power and Influence Award (1999); the NYLS Otto Walter Prize for best faculty publication of 1999 and 2008; the Bridging the Gap Award, recognizing her efforts to foster racial reconciliation (2000); Columbia University’s Barbara A. Black lectureship (2001); the Trailblazer Award from the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (2001); Old Dominion Fellowship at Princeton University (2002); and selection as a National Book Award judge in the nonfiction category.
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; on the advisory group on African-American Interpretation at Monticello; on the executive committee of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University; on the board of directors of the American Society for Legal History; and on the advisory council of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, 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 HLS, Gordon-Reed was an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York.
While a student at Harvard Law School, she served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review. In addition to her J.D., Gordon-Reed holds an A.B. 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.
Professorships at the Radcliffe Institute are designed to bring a succession of eminent individuals to the Institute and to attract outstanding faculty to tenured positions at Harvard. These professorships allow recipients to spend four semesters as research fellows at the Radcliffe Institute during their first five years at the University. The Carol K. Pforzheimer Professorship at Radcliffe was established by the Pforzheimer family in 2002 and named for Radcliffe College alumna Carol K. Pforzheimer ’31.
Grosz noted that the Pforzheimer family has a long history of engagement with many parts of the university. “I’m extraordinarily grateful to Mrs. Pforzheimer and her family for establishing the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professorship at Radcliffe and for their strong commitment to the Radcliffe Institute from its earliest days 10 years ago.”