Hendrik Hartog is the Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty and the director of Princeton University’s Program in American Studies. He holds a Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Brandeis University (1982), a J.D. from the New York University School of Law (1973), and an A.B. from Carleton College (1970). Before coming to Princeton, he taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School (1982-92) and at the Indiana University (Bloomington) School of Law (1977-82). Hartog has spent his scholarly life working in the social history of American law, obsessed with the difficulties and opportunities that come with studying how broad political and cultural themes have been expressed in ordinary legal conflicts. He has worked in a variety of areas of American legal history: on the history of city life, on the history of constitutional rights claims, on the history of marriage, and on the historiography of legal change. He is the author of Public Property and Private Power: the Corporation of the City of New York in American Law, 1730-1870 (1983), Man and Wife in America: a History (2000), and Someday All This Will Be Yours: A History of Inheritance and Old Age (2012). He is the editor of Law in the American Revolution and the Revolution in the Law (1981) and the coeditor of Law in Culture and Culture in Law (2000) and American Public Life and the Historical Imagination (2003). He has been awarded a variety of national fellowships and lectureships, and for a decade he coedited Studies in Legal History, the book series of the American Society for Legal History. He is affiliated with Princeton’s Program in Law and Public Affairs and with the Program in American Studies.
Professor Hartog is at present working on a study of inheritance conflicts in 19th- and 20th-century New Jersey, reading them in particular for what they show about parent-child relations, child labor, and how, in a time before pensions and Social Security, people used the promise of inheritance to secure care for themselves in old age.
Professor Hartog teaches courses on American legal history, family history, legal thought, and historiography. As a law school professor he previously taught property law, local government law, and family law, as well as legal history.