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Professor Catherine Clinton

AB (Harvard), MA (Sussex), DPhil (Princeton)

International Professor in US History

Catherine Clinton is an International Professor of the university. She combines this post with that of Denman Endowed Professor in US History at the University of Texas, San Antonio, which she took up in August 2014.

Catherine Clinton came to Queen’s in 2006, having previously taught at Union College, Brandeis University and at Harvard University — in both the Department of African American Studies and the Department of History. She has recently stepped down from the executive council of the Society of American Historians and continues to serve on the Advisory Committee to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and her biography, Mrs Lincoln: a life was published in 2009. Her biography of Harriet Tubman was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2004 by the Christian Science Monitor and the Chicago Tribune. She now serves on the Advisory Council of Civil War History, of Ford's Theatre in Washington DC, and Civil War Times. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission and in 2011, she is the editor of the Penguin Classic, Mary Chestnut's Diary.

Research Interests

Professor Clinton maintains strong research interest in US history, with specialization in women’s history, southern history, African-American history and the American Civil War. She edits a series for Oxford University Press entitled Viewpoints on American Culture.

Select Publications



Articles and chapters:

  • "Breaking the Silence: Sexual Hypocrisies from Thomas Jefferson to Strom Thurmond" in Beyond Slavery: Overcoming Its Religious and Sexual Legacies (New York, 2010).
  • "Susie King Taylor" in Georgia Women: their Lives and Times (Georgia, 2009).
  • “Lincoln: The Family He Who Made Him, the Family He Made" in Our Lincoln (New York, 2008).
  • "Scepter and Masque: Debutante Rituals in Mardi Gras New Orleans" in Southern Manners (Mississippi, 2007).
  • 'Why I write' in Why we write (New York, 2005).
  • '"Slavery is war": Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad' in Passages to freedom (Washington, 2004).
  • 'Mary Modjeska Simkins' in Notable American women IV (Cambridge, Mass., 2004).
  • 'Concittadine divise: "genere" e lealtà di  parte durante la Guerra Civile americana' in Storia e memoria (Genova, 2000).

Entry on PURE research profile


Related website addresses

  • Catherine Clinton talked about her biography of the wife of President Abraham Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln: A Life (Harper; January 6, 2009). This book is the first biography of Mary Todd Lincoln in 21 years. The author argues that Mrs. Lincoln had her faults but that she has been unfairly portrayed by many Lincoln scholars. Watch the video
  • Read an article in Culture Northern Ireland referring to the Stephen Spielberg's movie Lincoln, the advisory role that Catherine had and watch a small trailer of the movie click here  
  • Read Catherine's article "Queen Bee of the Confederacy"
  • Catherine's website at:
  • Closing of the Slave Trades Conference with Yale University
  • Catherine's Podcast on Harriet Tubman:
  • “Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom”: Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland in 1820. After her escape to the North in 1849, she returned to the South more than a dozen times to ferry other slaves along the Underground Railroad. She later helped John Brown recruit men for his Harper’s Ferry raid, and during the Civil War, Tubman served as a Union spy. In this lecture, historian Catherine Clinton details not only Tubman’s life but also the quest to uncover new information on Tubman’s extraordinary life.