A pre-eminent American historian and graduate of Harvard University, Nell Painter is the Edwards Professor Emeritus of American History at Princeton University. She is the author of seven books and countless articles relating to the history of the American south.
Her critically acclaimed book, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol, won the nonfiction prize of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her newest book, The History of White People, guides readers through more than 2,000 years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race, but the frequent praise of "whiteness."
Painter is a distinguished and award-winning scholar and writer. From 1997-2000 she directed the program in African-American Studies at Princeton. In addition to Harvard, she was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Bordeaux, France, and the University of Ghana, West Africa. Prior to joining the faculty at Princeton in 1998, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Much of her writing has been concerned with southerners like Hosea Hudson, Gertrude Thomas and Wilbur Cash. In more recent years, she has been writing on the United States as a whole, as exemplified in her third book, Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919, which won the Letitia Brown Memorial Publication Prize. Painter's other books include The Narrative of Hosea Hudson: His Life as a Negro Communist in the South and Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction.
Painter has been a fellow in the Guggenheim Foundation, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, the Bunting Institute and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. She has been a recipient of the Brown Publication Prize, awarded by the Association of Black Women Historians and has been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Painter was selected as the president of the Southern Historical Association for 2007 and president of the Organization of American Historians from 2007-2008.
She received her PhD from Harvard University, her MA from the University of California, Los Angeles and her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Painter retired from the Princeton History Department in 2005 and used her newly acquired free time to earn a BFA degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2009 and is currently a graduate student in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Arrangements for the appearance of Nell Irvin Painter made through Greater Talent Network, Inc., New York, NY.