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Pauline Maier papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0705

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection documents the activities of Pauline Maier, who was a professor of history at MIT from 1978-2013. Materials in the collection, spanning 1960 to 2013, document both her personal life and her academic career. Her papers are arranged in five series: Correspondence, Course Notes and Curricula, Research Materials and Writings, HASS-D Overview Committee and Historical Studies Subcommittee Records, and Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on the Closing of CMRAE Records. Each series maintains the original order.

Series 1 includes the personal and professional correspondence of Professor Maier, spanning from 1969 to 2011. Included in her correspondence are materials from her time serving as Chair of the History Faculty, from 1979 to 1988. A portion of the correspondence is arranged chronologically, as originally ordered.

Teaching materials generated throughout Maier’s career are found in series 2, including subject files, lecture notes, syllabi, and reading materials for various American History courses taught by Maier. The series, spanning 1960 to 2013, covers courses taught at the University of Massachusetts, Boston; University of Wisconsin, Madison; Yale University; and MIT. MIT courses documented in this series include American History to 1865; The American Revolution; Colonial America; Riots, Strikes, and Conspiracies in American History; and American Classics.

Series 3 documents a variety of writings produced by Maier, including some background research. Materials are roughly grouped together by publication, following the original order. Most prominent in this series is her work on The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams. Materials related to this book include her research notes, source materials, correspondence, and chapter drafts. Maier’s work on an unpublished article, titled “Conspiracy and Suppression in Eighteenth Century New York,” is documented through drafts, research materials, and correspondence. Drafts and revisions for her junior high school textbook, The American People: A History, are included. Additional materials related to text books, book reviews, speeches, and articles by Maier can also be found in this series.

Records from Maier’s involvement on the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Distribution (HASS-D) Overview Committee can be found in series 4, spanning from 1987 to 1992. This committee was tasked with reviewing proposals for new and modified classes to fulfill updated guidelines as specified by the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Requirement component of the General Institute Requirement (GIR). Maier was a member of the committee and served as chair of its Historical Studies Subcommittee.

In 1994, Maier served as a member of the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on the Closing of the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE), chaired by Peter Diamond. Series 5 documents Maier’s involvement with the committee’s investigation into the decision by a review committee to close MIT’s CMRAE. Materials in this series include Maier’s notes, reports, and background materials.


  • Creation: 1960 - 2013


Access note

Materials in this collection are open unless they are marked as restricted. Restrictions are noted in the container list.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.


Pauline Maier, 1938-2013, was the William Kenan Jr. Professor of American History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She earned an AB at Radcliffe College in 1960 and a PhD in American history in 1968 at Harvard University. AT MIT, she was professor of history, 1978 to 1990 and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American History, 1990 to 2013. She served as associate head of the Department of Humanities, 1979 to 1980; head of the history faculty, 1979 to 1988; and acting head of the history faculty, fall 1993 and fall 1996. In 1988, Maier was awarded MIT’s James R. Killian Faculty Achievement Award, given to one faculty member each year, recognizing extraordinary professional accomplishment.

MIT News Office memorial:


15 Cubic Feet (15 record cartons)

Language of Materials



Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.


  • From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776, by Pauline Maier, 1972.
  • The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams, by Pauline Maier, 1980.
  • The American People: A History, by Pauline Maier, 1986.
  • American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, by Pauline Maier. 1997.
  • Inventing America: A History of the United States, by Pauline Maier, Merritt Roe Smith, Alex Keyssar, Daniel Kevles. 2002.
  • Ratification: the People Debate the Constitution, by Pauline Maier. 2010.

Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Transfer List of the Pauline Maier Papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US