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Caroline Winterer was appointed Director of the Stanford Humanities Center in September 2013. A historian of early America, she holds the Anthony P. Meier Family Professorship in the Humanities and is Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics. She joined the Stanford faculty in 2004. She received her Ph.D. in 1996 from the University of Michigan and her B.A. with honors from Pomona College in 1988.
The author of three books and over 30 articles, Winterer specializes in the transmission of ideas between Europe and the Americas in the era from Columbus to the Civil War. Her areas of specialization include the American Enlightenment, ideas about ancient Rome and Greece, art and material culture, and political thought. 
Her publications include The Mirror of Antiquity: American Women and the Classical Tradition, 1750-1900 (2007) and The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780-1910 (2002), as well as articles in the Journal of American History, the William and Mary Quarterly, the American Quarterly, the Journal of the Early Republic and Modern Intellectual History. Winterer recently curated two exhibits of rare books and artifacts:  the exhibit Ancient Rome & America at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia in 2010 and also The American Enlightenment at Stanford’s Green Library in 2011. She has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, and the Spencer Foundation, among others. Her work in digital humanities, which mapped the social network of Benjamin Franklin, was awarded an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution in 2013; an article about Winterer's project appeared in Smithsonian Magazine (Dec. 2013).

Prof. Winterer in the News

April 18, 2016
The Stanford Humanities Center has awarded 23 fellowships for the upcoming academic year. The...
November 3, 2015
Analyzing Ben Franklin's letters, Stanford Humanities Center and historian Caroline Winterer tells...
June 4, 2015
The “digital humanities” is an increasingly popular field of research within humanities departments...
May 19, 2015
The Stanford Humanities Center has announced the recipients of its competition for full-year...
May 12, 2015
Albert Camus' 1942 classic, The Stranger , raises tough questions about culture clash and how we...
November 20, 2014
Humanities Center Director Caroline Winterer delivers a lively talk on how the Stanford Library's...
November 19, 2014
Addressing a group of invited guests at the Stanford University Library on October 20, Stanford...
May 29, 2014
Notice anything different lately? The Stanford Humanities Center website has been fully redesigned...
April 29, 2014
History professor Alan Taylor has won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in history for his book The Internal...
December 1, 2013
When Stanford historian Caroline Winterer was awarded the American Ingenuity Award on November 19,...
April 17, 2013
Winterer, a scholar of the early Americas with a joint appointment in Classics, will lead the...
January 2, 2010
Ancient Rome in America Eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Americans were fascinated by ancient Rome...
Odyssey (WBEZ), May 3, 2005
Human Experience, January 2010
Human Experience video interview with Prof. Winterer about the exhibit, December 15, 2009

Audio and Video

Using early images of Native Americans and maps of the American West, Humanities Center Director Caroline Winterer discusses how the Tanenbaum collection illuminates American history. 

Addressing a group of invited guests at the Stanford University Library on October 20, Stanford historian Caroline Winterer discusses the catalog of the Charles J. Tanenbaum Collection of the Eighteenth Century. 

Winterer's talk celebrates the launching of the Tanenbaum Collection's printed catalog, over 300 pages long, that includes early editions of such works as Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia. Using a colorful series of images and maps, Winterer's lively talk illustrates how students and visitors can witness a transformation in American ideas of the people and topography of North America. 

Tanenbaum, an avid rare-book collector, donated his extensive collection of books and manuscripts to the Stanford Library so that students could engage with original source materials. The collection is used regularly by students and professors researching this period of early American History. 

October 20, 2014

Stanford Professor of History and Stanford Humanities Center Director Caroline Winterer, talks about how she approaches the American enlightenment as a series of intellectual, cultural, and artistic transformations. 

March 5, 2015

Professor of Philosophy at New York University Samuel Scheffler discusses how we are more invested in the fate of our descendants than we may realize and that we have more reasons to care about what happens to them than we commonly acknowledge. 

June 16, 2015

Stanford Provost John Etchemendy moderates the panel discussion opening “Thinking Big About Learning” – the first symposium in a series of events celebrating Stanford's 125th anniversary. Panelists John Mitchell, vice provost for teaching and learning at Stanford, Daniel Schwartz, dean of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education and Caroline Winterer, professor of history and director of the Stanford Humanities Center, discuss the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to learning. 

November 4, 2015

Historian and Stanford Humanities Center director Caroline Winterer shares her research as part of Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) in uncovering Benjamin Franklin’s extensive social networking. With digitization, scholars can now ask new questions about the past and she explores some of these possibilities.

December 18, 2015


  • 19th-century U.S. History
  • American Cultural and Intellectual History
  • Art and Material Culture
  • Colonial America
  • History of Women
  • Pre-20th-century American Women
  • Reception of Classical Antiquity
  • Revolutionary America
  • The American Enlightenment

Contact information

Bldg 200, Rm 319


History Department Profile


B.A., cum laude, Pomona College, 1988
A.M., University of Michigan, 1991
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1996