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University of Iowa News Release

May 10, 2006

Historian Kerber Elected To Prestigious American Philosophical Society

Linda K. Kerber, professor and chair of the Department of History in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society (APS), the oldest learned society in the United States.

An eminent scholarly organization of international reputation, the APS promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach. Founded by Benjamin Franklin and boasting Thomas Jefferson as one of its early presidents, the society has played an important role in American cultural and intellectual life for more than 250 years.

Election to the APS honors extraordinary accomplishments in all fields, and there are currently more than 700 members around the world, though the overwhelming majority are U.S. residents. During the 20th century more than 200 members of the society won the Nobel Prize. Kerber is the second UI faculty member to be elected to the society; James Van Allen, Regent Distinguished Professor of Physics (emeritus), was elected in 1961.

Kerber, the May Brodbeck Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, is a historian of women's rights and women's roles in American history, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the Society of American Historians. She notes a "charming irony" in her election to the American Philosophical Society given that the subjects of her doctoral dissertation and first book--the Federalists who opposed Thomas Jefferson--would have been appalled that their chronicler accepted her election. Federalist Josiah Quincy once observed of the society: "The members of that society were not famous for a particular and accurate knowledge of any thing, but were distinguished only by a general acquaintance with philosophy."

As former president of the Organization of American Historians and current president of the American Historical Association, Kerber has played an important role in gaining recognition for women historians and women's history within the discipline. A former Guggenheim fellow and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, she has published widely, both journal articles and books, including,  "Toward an Intellectual History of Women," (1997) and "No Constitutional Right to be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship," (1998). The latter won two national awards: the American Historical Association's Joan Kelly Memorial Prize for the best work in women's history and/or feminist theory and the Littleton-Griswold Prize for the best book in any subject on the history of American law and society.

Kerber has won many other awards and honors. In 2001 she received a Special Recognition for Mentoring Award from the UI Graduate College, and in 2003 she was named a fellow in the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

She is one of the few scholars to have held the top leadership positions in the three major professional organizations in her field-the American Historical Association (2006), the American Studies Association (1988) and the Organization of American Historians (1997).

Kerber is a distinguished international lecturer having spoken in Tokyo, Stockholm, Berlin, Milan, and Florence and has also lectured widely in the United States.

Before joining the UI faculty in 1971, Kerber earned a doctorate from Columbia University, a master's degree from New York University and a bachelor's degree from Barnard College.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, or Lesly Huffman, 319-384-0077,

OTHER INFORMATION: American Philosophical Society,