Martha Saxton

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Martha Saxton is a professor of history and women's and gender studies at Amherst College. Professor Saxton has undertaken biographies of figures as diverse as 1950s bombshell Jayne Mansfield and nineteenth-century author and reformer Louisa May Alcott. Her most recent publication is Being Good: Women's Moral Values in Early America (Hill and Wang, 2003). She is returning to biography as she embarks on a new project entitled The Widow Washington, on President George Washington's mother Mary Ball Washington. She is married to Enrico Ferorelli. She lives in New York City. The TV film The Jayne Mansfield Story featuring Loni Anderson and Arnold Schwarzenegger was based on her book Jayne Mansfield and the American fifties.[1]



  • Forthcoming: The Widow Washington, (Hill and Wang)
  • Being Good: Women's Moral Values in Early America, (Hill and Wang, 2003).
  • Interpretations of American History (seventh edition) with Frank Couvares (previously edited by Gerald Grob and George Billias), Free Press, Spring 2000.
  • Louisa May Alcott, Houghton Mifflin, 1977 (Avon, 1978; Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1995).
  • Jayne Mansfield and the American Fifties, Houghton Mifflin, 1976 (Bantam, 1976).

Essays, reviews, and other[edit]

  • "Lives of Missouri Slave Women: A Critique of true Womanhood," in eds. Manisha Sinha and Penny Von Eschen, Contested Democracy: Freedom, Race and Power in American History, Columbia U. Press, forthcoming, 2007.
  • "Curing Gender Amnesia," Women's Review of Books 24.1 (Jan Feb 2007): 24.
  • "Masquerade: the Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier," by Alfred Young, in The William and Mary Quarterly, forthcoming.
  • "River Gods-and Goddesses. Women's Review of Books 21.9 (June 2004): 10.
  • "Neither Lady Nor Slave," The S.C. Historical Magazinheae, October 2004.
  • "La Formazione degli Stati Uniti," Journal of American History, February, 2004.
  • "Sexism and the City," Journal of Urban History, January, 2003.
  • "Examining our Revolutionary Baggage," Reviews in American History, December, 2000
  • "The Moral Minority, Prescriptive Literature in Early St. Louis," Gateway-Heritage, The Quarterly Magazine of the Missouri Historical Society (Fall 2000): 18-31.
  • "Women Without Rights," in Not for Ourselves Alone, ed. by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns (New York: A. A. Knopf, Inc., 1999), 52-57.
  • "Puritan Women: The Seeds of a Critical Tradition," History Today, 44.10 (Sept./Oct. 1994): 28-33.
  • "Civil War Nurses," in The Face of Mercy, A Photographic History of Medicine at War, ed. by Matthew Naythons, and William Styron (San Francisco: Epicenter, 1993).

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Whiting Travel Fellowship, 2012
  • Cullman Fellow, New York Public LIbrary, 2007–2008
  • Doshisha Lecturer, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan (2006)
  • Miner D. Crary Award, Amherst College (2000-2001)
  • Bunting Fellow, Radcliffe College (1995-1996)
  • Mellon Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia (1988-1990)
  • Lane Cooper Award, Columbia (1987-1988)
  • Mary Ellen Shimke Award, Wellesley College (1986-1987)
  • Presidential Fellow, Columbia (1985–88)
  • Boston Globe Annual Award for Louisa May Alcott (1977)

Scholarly and professional activities[edit]

  • Member, Authors' Guild
  • Member, PEN, Secretary of PEN Executive Board, 1986-1989
  • Member, PEN/Martha Albrand Award Committee, 1992
  • Member, Willie Lee Rose Prize Committee, 1996 (Southern Association for Women's Historians)
  • Member, Julia Spruill Prize Committee, 1999 (Southern Association for Women's Historians)
  • Member, Louis Pelzer Memorial Award Committee, AHA, 2005-6
  • Co-founder and co-editor of The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 2006



  1. ^ "The Television Picture", The Milwaukee Journal, page 4, 1982-04-27