Mary Beth Norton

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Mary Beth Norton (born 1943) is an American historian. She is the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History at the Department of History at Cornell University.[1][2]


Norton was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[1] She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and her Master of Arts (1965) and Ph.D. (1969) from Harvard University,[1] under Bernard Bailyn. Her doctoral dissertation, The British-Americans, was published by Little, Brown and Company and won the 1970 Allan Nevins Prize.[3]

Her book Founding Mothers and Fathers (1996) was a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize.[1] She was co-editor, To Toil the Livelong Day (1987), Women of America (1979), Major Problems in American Women's History (4th ed., 2007),[1] and In the Devil's Snare (2002) about the Salem witch trials. She is also noted as one of the authors of the two-volume A People & A Nation, an American history textbook, currently in its ninth edition.[4]

Norton has served on the National Council on the Humanities, as president of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and as vice president for research of the American Historical Association.[1] She also served as the general editor of the AHA Guide to Historical Literature in 1995.[1] Norton was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999.[5] She was also elected Speaker of the third Cornell University Senate. Norton has won grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation,[6] and the Rockefeller Foundation.[1]

Norton appears in a variety of history programs and documentaries about colonial times, including Salem Witch Trials in the Discovery Channel's Unsolved History series in 2003[7] and in Witch Hunt on the The History Channel in 2004. She was interviewed in 2008 for the PBS Series History Detectives, on Season 6, Episode 7, "Front Street Blockhouse.".[8] She appears in Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence in 2011[9] for the Essex National Heritage Commission and the National Park Service[10][11]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Norton, Mary Beth, et al. "The Authors: Mary Beth Norton." A People & A Nation, Volume Two: Since 1865 (6th ed.) p. xxiii.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Allan Nevins Prize - Past Winners". Society of American Historians. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Articles written by Norton have been published in William and Mary Quarterly, Signs, and the American Historical Review.
  5. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter N" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Episode Detail: Salem Witch Trials - Unsolved History". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-01-01. 
  8. ^ "Season 6, Episode 7: Front Street Blockhouse transcript" (PDF). History Detectives. PBS. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  9. ^ "Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence". Retrieved 2013-01-01. 
  10. ^ "Salem Witch Trials Get A Second Look", by G. Jeffrey Macdonald, Washington Post, Nov. 8, 2011 -
  11. ^ "Salem Witch Hunt:Examine the Evidence Premieres Oct. 4", Salem Gazette, September 30, 2011