Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is 300th Anniversary University Professor emerita at Harvard University. She is probably best known for A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History and many other awards in 1991. Others know her for a sentence that escaped from one of her scholarly articles to become a popular slogan. She explored that phenomenon in Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History (2007).
Her most recent book, A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835-1870 explores the paradoxical link between the practice of polygamy or “plural marriage” in Utah Territory and the adoption in 1870 of women suffrage. Because of its use of braided stories drawn from early women’s and men’s diaries it received the 2017 Evan Biography Award from the Mountain West Century at Utah State University.
Her 2001 book The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth explored the social and cultural history of early New England through examination of a dozen household objects, including Indian trade baskets, a painted cupboard, a niddy-noddy, and an unfinished stocking. She further explored material history in Tangible Things: Making History Through Objects (2015), co-authored with Ivan Gaskell, Sara Schechner, and Sarah Anne Carter.
Professor Ulrich has received numerous awards for teaching, scholarship, and public service, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Award from the Society of American Historians, and the Charles Frankel Award (now the National Humanities Medal). She is past president of the American Historical Association and an elected member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She continues to write, lecture, and consult with museums and historical societies nationwide.