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Miriam Cohen Professor of History on the Evalyn Clark Chair

Miriam Cohen is Evalyn Clark Professor of History at Vassar College. Her specialties include the history of American women and twentieth-century social history. Her first book, Workshop to Office: Two Generations of Italian Women in New York City was published by Cornell University Press in 1993. She has published numerous articles on the history of social welfare in Europe and the United States. Julia Lathrop: Social Service and Progressive Reform was published in 2017 by Routledge. In 2020 she helped organize the Vassar events commemorating the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment. She also published Votes for Women: Vassar and the Politics of Women’s Suffrage, an essay to accompany the online library exhibition on the history of Vassar’s role in the suffrage movement.

  • AB, University of Rochester; MA, PhD, University of Michigan
  • At Vassar since 1977

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Research and Academic Interests

  • History of Twentieth Century US
  • History of Women in the Twentieth Century US
  • History of American Social Reform

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Photo: Karl Rabe / Vassar College

Miriam Cohen, Evalyn Clark Professor of History, has been at Vassar since 1977. She received her BA at the University of Rochester in 1971 and PhD in history from the University of Michigan in 1978. Her specialties include the history of American women and the history of twentieth-century social reform. Her book, Workshop to Office: Two Generations of Italian Women in New York City (1993) was a finalist for the Thomas Znaniecki Prize of the American Sociological Association. With Michael Hanagan, she published numerous articles on the comparative history of the welfare state in England, France, and the United States. Her article, “Reconsidering Schools and the American Welfare State,” History of Education Quarterly 45:4 (Winter, 2005) was selected as one of forty articles for the journal’s Fiftieth Anniversary Retrospective issue published in Fall, 2010, which highlights the major trends of the first fifty years of the journal. Her book Julia Lathrop: Social Service and Progressive Government, was published by Routledge in 2017. In 2020 she helped organize the Vassar events commemorating the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment. She also published Votes for Women: Vassar and the Politics of Women’s Suffrage, an essay to accompany the online library exhibition on the history of Vassar’s role in the suffrage movement.

Professor Cohen’s other professional activities include service on the Joan Kelly Memorial Book Prize of the American Historical Association, the Final Selection Committee for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowships in Women’s Studies, the Grants-in-Aid Committee of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and the Program Committee for the History of Education Society. She has also served as a trustee of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and she was an advisory editor of Encyclopedia of Women in American History .