I think all early American historians will be saddened to learn that Pauline Maier, longtime professor at MIT, passed away today at the age of 75. Several outlets are reporting that the cause of death was lung cancer. History News Network has posted an obituary.
I never met Maier, but had a great respect for her work, especially Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams and American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. I assigned American Scripture as summer reading when I taught AP U.S. History at the Stony Brook School back in the 1990s. The book still shapes much of my understanding of the Declaration.
Here is what some people are saying on Twitter about Maier’s death:
Dan Cohen: “Very said to hear. A great historian and a beautiful writer.”:
Martin Van Buren: “Very saddened to hear that Pauline Maier has died. She was a gifted and charismatic historian. Check out her speeches on iTunes.
Sam Ryan: RIP Pauline Maier, another early American historian whose work inspired & improved my undergrad education.
Joseph Adelman calls attention to the recent William & Mary Quarterly roundtable on her final book Ratification.
Taylor Stoermer: “Pauline Maier, who was one of the most inspirational women in my life and a billiant historian, passed away this morning.”
Stoermer: “Pauline Maier taught importance of brushing away ideological trends and misconceptions to do fearless, forthright history.
Douglas Bradburn: “Sad to hear of Pauline Maier’s passing today, a former winner of the George Washington Book Prize, a great historian, friend of Mount Vernon.
Jimmy Dick says
I absolutely loved Ratification and will be picking up Scripture in my next set of purchases. My review of Ratification hits the Saber & Scroll Journal in its next issue and I hope it entices others to read the book.
Her prose was wonderful. So often we hear people complain of academic writing and how stuff it was. Pauline Maier was definitely not a stuffy academic author. The fact that you assigned Scripture to an AP class speaks volumes for its ease of reading.
I never got to meet, but if I had done so I would have said, “Thank your for your work.”