Nell Irvin Painter

Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita

Nell Irvin Painter is a leading historian of the United States. She is currently the Edwards Professor of American History at Princeton University. She was Director of Princeton's Program in African-American Studies from 1997 to 2000. In addition to her doctorate in history from Harvard University, she has received honorary doctorates from Wesleyan, Dartmouth, SUNY-New Paltz, and Yale.

As a scholar, Professor Painter has published numerous books, articles, reviews, and other essays. Her most recent book is The History of White People. Six earlier books are also still in print. She has served on numerous editorial boards and as an officer of many different professional organizations, including the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the American Antiquarian Society, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, and the Association of Black Women Historians. She is currently a Councillor of the prestigious Society of American Historians. For a full list of her publications and professional activities, see her curriculum vitae.

Professor Painter's current work is interdisciplinary. In addition to traditional courses in American history and African-American studies, she teaches on the social construction of gender, race, and personal beauty.


University of California, Berkeley, 1960-1962; 1963-1964. B.A. (honors) Anthropology, 1964
University of Bordeaux, France, 1962-1963, French medieval history
University of Ghana, Institute of African Studies, 1965-1966
University of California, Los Angeles, 1966-1967, MA, African History, 1967
Harvard University, 1969-1974, Ph.D., American history

Area of Interest
African American
Gender & Sexuality
Race & Ethnicity
Home Department & Other Affiliations
19th Century
United States