Jan Lewis is Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Rutgers University, Newark, where she has taught American history since 1977. She teaches in the History Ph.D. program at Rutgers, New Brunswick, as well, and has been a Visiting Professor at Princeton University. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in both History and American Studies from the University of Michigan and her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College. A specialist in colonial and early national history, she is the author of The Pursuit of Happiness: Family and Values in
Jefferson’s Virginia (Cambridge University Press,
1983) and the co-editor (with Peter N. Stearns) of
An Emotional History of the United States (N.Y.U.
Press, 1998); (with Peter S. Onuf) Sally Hemings
and Thomas Jefferson: History, Memory, and Civic
Culture (Virginia, 1999); The Revolution of 1800:
Democracy, Race, & the New Republic (with
James Horn and Peter S. Onuf) (Virginia 2002).
She has co-authored a college-level American history textbook, Making a Nation (Prentice Hall), and she is currently completing two projects, one an examination of the way the Founding generation grappled with the challenge presented by women and slaves to their egalitarian ideology, to be published by Cambridge University Press, and the other, the second volume of the Penguin History of the United States, covering the years 1760-1830. Lewis has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies, Center for the History of Freedom at Washington University, and the International Center for Jefferson Studies. She has served on the
editorial boards of The American Historical Review, Journal of the Early Republic, the Journal of Southern History, and Virginia History. She has
served as Chair of the New Jersey Historical
Commission and the American Historical
Association’s Committee on Women Historians. She has also served as a member of the Advisory Board of the International Center for Jefferson Studies. She has lectured widely and served as a consultant to a number of organizations and institutions. She currently reviews fiction as well as history, women’s studies, and contemporary politics for the Phi Beta Kappa Key Reporter. She is very much interested in the way that history is written and has taught graduate courses on the rhetoric of American history. Lewis and her husband, Barry Bienstock, the Chair of the History Department at the Horace Mann School, live in Maplewood, New Jersey.