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Roy & Jeannette Nichols Endowed Chair in History:
Kathy Peiss

Kathy Peiss

SAS Dean Samuel H. Preston has announced that Professor of History Kathy Peiss has been appointed to the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Chair in History.

Dr. Peiss received her B.A. from Carleton College in 1975 and completed her doctorate at Brown University in 1982. She came to Penn in 2001 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she was director of the graduate program and history department chair. She has also held teaching positions at Rutgers University, Cornell University, and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Dr. Peiss is regarded as a leading scholar of women's history and the history of sexuality and gender in the United States. She has written and lectured on American women's history and cultural history for 20 years.

A popular speaker and writer, Dr. Peiss's books have received wide acclaim in academic circles and from general readers alike. Her latest book, Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture, published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt in 1998, examines the history of cosmetics and the mass-market beauty industry in America. Her other numerous books and articles include Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in New York City, 1880-1920, published in 1986, and Men and Women: A History of Costume, Gender, and Power, with Barbara Smith, published in 1989. She co-edited Love Across the Color Line: The Letters of Alice Hanley to Channing Lewis and has edited major volumes on sexuality issues, most recently, Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality, published in 2002.

Among her many awards is, most recently, a 2002 Guggenheim Fellowship for research on acquired taste and the myth of American classlessness. Additional honors include fellowships from the NEH, American Council of Learned Societies, Smithsonian Institution, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

Dr. Peiss's work has received wide and varied distribution. She has served as a consultant for films and museum exhibits, including a Smithsonian Institution showcase on costume and gender. Dr. Peiss has been a featured guest on CNN and has been interviewed by The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Allure, and Out, among others.

The Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Chair in History is one of three chairs established in 1983 by the bequest of the late Drs. Nichols, two longtime faculty members for whom the graduate residence Nichols House is also named. Dr. Roy Nichols, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the Civil War, served as professor of history, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and vice provost of the University. Dr. Jeannette Nichols was a research associate and an associate professor of history for 32 years, with a special interest in the history of the University.


  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 22, February 18, 2003