Lisa H. Wilson

Lisa H. Wilson

Charles J. MacCurdy Professor Emeritus of American History

Joined Connecticut College: 1987-2019

B.A., Franklin and Marshall College
M.A., Ph.D., Temple University


Colonial North America

Women and gender

Family history

Lisa Wilson focuses her present research on North America and the Caribbean. She has recently begun a project comparing the experiences of seventeenth-century women in Barbados, Bermuda, Virginia and New England. She has published on topics such as widowhood, manhood, and stepfamilies in Early America.

Professor Wilson's newest book is titled, A History of Stepfamilies in Early America (University of North Carolina Press, 2014). She argues with the modern notion that stepfamilies are the unique burden of the present. They were, in fact, quite common in the historical past. She also suggests the stories of early American stepfamilies provide us with insights about our own families today. She received two fellowships toward the completion of this project. She was a long-term, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society in 2006-2007. She was also awarded an American Antiquarian Society/National Endowment for the Humanities Long-Term Fellowship for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Her first book, Life After Death: Widows in Pennsylvania, 1750-1850, (Temple University Press, 1992), focused on women's history. A part of this project was an article, "A 'Man of Business': The Widow of Means in Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1750-1850," that received the first Richard L. Morton Award from The William and Mary Quarterly (1987).

Her second book, Ye Heart of a Man: The Domestic Life of Men in Colonial New England, (Yale University Press, 1999) grew from her interest in comparative gender studies. This project won the 2000 Homer D. Babbidge, Jr. Award from the Association for the Study of Connecticut History for the best work on a significant aspect of Connecticut history, the Phi Alpha Theta (History Honor Society) book award for the best "subsequent" book published by a member of the organization, and was selected as an outstanding book by University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries. Wilson received two major fellowships to complete this project: the Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellowship in the Humanities, and a Charles Warren Center Fellowship, both at Harvard University.

Professor Wilson was featured as a commentator in the History Channel's original documentary, "Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower," presented for the first time on the History Channel on Nov. 19, 2006. This film is still shown on Thanksgiving on the History Channel and regularly at the Plimouth Plantation Museum.

She is also an honorary member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and the American Antiquarian Society.

Professor Wilson teaches a first-year seminar, Walking in Their Shoes: Early American Inhabitants of New London, Connecticut, FYS 173d; U. S.: Natives and Newcomers, 105; The Colonial History of North America, 203; The American Revolutionary Era, 204; The History of Women and Gender in the United States, History 242; and City Upon the Hill: Seventeenth-Century New England and American Identity, History 463.

She was the Class of 1964 Associate Professor from 1994-95 and 1995-1996, Director of the Gender and Women's Studies Program from 1993-1994, and chair of the History Department from 1998-2001, and has just been appointed chair of that department again in 2015. She has also served as the chair and as a member of various College committees.

Wilson was awarded the 2019 Helen Brooks Regan Faculty Leadership Award.

View the history department website.

Majoring in History.

"Love my children for my sake, and wisely and carefully Educate and Govern them with the Authority and Tenderness of a natural Parent." - Thomas Clap, 1737

Contact Lisa H. Wilson

Mailing Address

Lisa H. Wilson
Connecticut College
Box #5526
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320


Winthrop 103