Elizabeth A. Fenn

Elizabeth A. Fenn
Born (1959-09-22) September 22, 1959
Arlington, California[1]
Nationality American
Alma mater Duke University
Yale University
Occupation Historian
Notable work Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People
Spouse(s) Peter H. Wood (m. 1999)
Awards Pulitzer Prize for History

Elizabeth Anne Fenn (born September 22, 1959) is an American historian whose book Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for History.[2] She serves as the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill chair in Western American History at University of Colorado-Boulder.[1]


Fenn received a bachelor of arts degree in history (with honors)[3] from Duke University in 1981, then attended Yale University, finishing her masters in 1985. Fenn originally planned to write her dissertation on millenarianism in Native American culture, but left her doctoral program at Yale before it was finished, as she was "bored" with academia. Fenn entered the auto mechanic program at Durham Technical Community College and worked as a mechanic around the Durham, North Carolina area for eight years before returning to Yale in 1995 to complete her studies. Pox Americana, her dissertation about the 1775–82 North American smallpox epidemic, was written while working part-time, and completed in 1999.[4] Fenn was interviewed on multiple national news outlets about biological warfare after the September 11 attacks.[5]

Prior to joining the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2012,[6] Fenn taught at George Washington University from 1999 to 2002 and Duke from 2002 to 2012.[5]

She married Peter H. Wood in 1999.[7]



  1. 1 2 Elmes, John (May 28, 2015). "Q&A with Elizabeth Fenn". Times Higher Education. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  2. Kuta, Sarah (April 20, 2015). "Elizabeth Fenn, CU-Boulder prof and Longmont resident, wins Pulitzer Prize for history". The Daily Camera. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  3. Evans, Clay (December 2011). "Former auto mechanic makes splash in world of history". University of Colorado at Boulder. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  4. Eakin, Emily (September 8, 2001). "She Can Fix Your Engine, Too". New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  5. 1 2 Hicks, Sally (August 30, 2002). "Scholar Trades Wrenches For Writing". Duke University. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  6. "CU-Boulder history chair wins Pulitzer Prize for her book". University of Colorado at Boulder. April 20, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  7. Sounart, Christie (April 22, 2015). "Fenn Wins Pulitzer". Colorandan Magazine. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  8. Martin, James Kirby (2003). "Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 (review)". Journal of Social History. 37 (1): 268–270. doi:10.1353/jsh.2003.0148 via Project MUSE.
  9. Tannenbaum, Rebecca J. (October 4, 2002). "Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 (review)". Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. 57 (4): 497–499. doi:10.1093/jhmas/57.4.497 via Project MUSE.
  10. Richter, Daniel K. (April 4, 2014). "Book Review: 'Encounters at the Heart of the World' by Elizabeth A. Fenn". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 26, 2015.

External links

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