JILL LEPORE is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker.
Much of Lepore's research, teaching, and writing explores absences and asymmetries of evidence in the historical record. Her current work concerns the histories and technologies of evidence and of privacy. At Harvard, she teaches courses on historical topics and methods in History, History and Literature, American Studies, and at the Harvard Law School. As an essayist, she writes about American culture, law, literature, and politics, with an eye to the relationship between the past and the present.
Lepore received a B.A. in English from Tufts University in 1987, an M.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 1990, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1995. She joined the Harvard History Department in 2003 and was Chair of the History and Literature Program in 2005-10, 2012, and 2014. In 2012, she was named Harvard College Professor, in recognition of distinction in undergraduate teaching.
Lepore's most recent book is The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Knopf, 2014), a New York Times bestseller. During a Guggenheim Fellowship year beginning in 2015, she will be working on Dickens in America, an account of the novelist's 1842 American tour. Her previous books include Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (Knopf, 2013), Time magazine's Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and winner of the Mark Lynton Prize; The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death (Knopf, 2012), a finalist for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction; The Story of America: Essays on Origins (Princeton, 2012), shortlisted for the PEN Literary Award for the Art of the Essay; The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle for American History (Princeton, 2010), a Times Book Review Editors’ Choice; New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (Knopf, 2005), winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award for the best nonfiction book on race and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity (Knopf, 1998), winner of the Bancroft Prize, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, and the Berkshire Prize; and Blindspot (Spiegel and Grau, 2008), an eighteenth-century novel written jointly with Jane Kamensky and also a Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.
Lepore's essays and reviews, which have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Latvian, Swedish, French, Chinese, and Japanese, have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, American Scholar, the American Quarterly, and Common-place, a journal she co-founded. They have also been widely anthologized, including in collections of the best legal writing and the best technology writing. From 2011-2013, Lepore was a Visiting Scholar of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Among her other scholarly and public lectures, she has delivered the Lewis Walpole Library Lecture at Yale (2013), the Harry F. Camp Memorial Lecture at Stanford (2013), the University of Kansas Humanities Lecture (2013), the Joanna Jackson Goldman Memorial Lectures at the New York Public Library (2012), the Kephardt Lecture at Villanova (2011), the Stafford-Little Lecture at Princeton (2010), and the Walker Horizon Lecture at DePauw (2009).
In 2014, Lepore was elected to the American Philosophical Society and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of several honors and honorary degrees. Her research has been funded by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the Charles Warren Center, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. She serves on the board of the Society of American Historians, for which she serves as vice president.
Lepore lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and three sons.