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This text, appropriate for courses in U.S. women's history, presents a carefully selected group of readings that allow students to evaluate primary sources, test the interpretations of distinguished historians, and draw their own conclusions. Designed to encourage critical thinking about history, the Major Problems in American History series introduces students to both primary sources and analytical essays.
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Mary Beth Norton earned her M.A. (1965) and a Ph.D. (1969) from Harvard University. Since 1971 she has taught at Cornell University, where she is now the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History. A specialist in early American and women's history, Norton has written The British-Americans: The Loyalist Exiles in England, 1774–1789 (1972); Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750–1800 (1980; 1996); and Founding Mothers & Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society (1996). She has coauthored A People and a Nation (now in its Sixth Edition), has co-edited two volumes of original essays in addition to Major Problems in American Women's History, and has served as the general editor for the American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature (3d ed., 1995). She has written scholarly essays for such journals as the American Historical Review, Signs and the William and Mary Quarterly. She recently completed a new study of the Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692.
Norton has held numerous research fellowships, including ones from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She has also been awarded the Allan Nevins Prize for the best-written dissertation in American history (1970), the Berkshire Conference Prize for the best book by a woman historian (1981), and four honorary degrees. Her most recent book, Founding Mothers & Fathers, was one of three finalists for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in history. Active in professional associations, she has been a member of the council of the Organization of American Historians, vice-president for research of the American Historical Association, and, most recently, chair of the Council of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. She served as a presidential appointee on the National Council for the Humanities, 1978–1984.
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