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Jacob, Margaret C. (1943–) - History of Science

studies university irish college

Margaret Jacob was born on June 9, 1943, and raised in New York City. Her mother, of Irish ancestry, was a domestic worker; her father, of German ancestry, was a mechanic. Among her early influences Jacob counts her Irish ancestry, the political interests of her parents, her participation in church, her school experience studying science, and her aunt, who was a teacher. Jacob was motivated to become a historian because of an interest in Irish-English conflict and a fascination with the past as it shaped the present.

Jacob attended St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1964. She then attended Cornell University, where she received a master’s degree in 1966 and a Ph.D. in 1968. She started her academic career as assistant professor at the University of South Florida, in Tampa, in 1968. From 1969 to 1971 Jacob was lecturer in European history at the University of East Anglia. From 1971 to 1985 she was at Baruch College, the City University of New York, where she received tenure in 1975. Jacob then joined the faculty of the New School for Social Research, where she currently teaches, as professor of history. She served as dean of the Eugene Lange College from 1985 to 1988 and as acting chair of the Committee on Historical Studies from 1994 to 1995.

Margaret Jacob has been the author, editor, or co-editor of eleven books. She has also written twenty-five scholarly articles and several major review essays; co-authored a textbook, Western Civilization: A Concise History , now in its fifth edition; and prepared a microfiche collection of European sources on freemasonry. Best known for her studies of Isaac Newton and the development of Western scientific thought, Jacob has also written about the politics of writing history. In Telling the Truth About History , which Jacob wrote with Joyce Appleby and Lynn Hunt, the authors survey historiographical approaches and ar- gue, in the face of current debates, that a genuinely diverse community of historians can write accurate and adequate history.

Jacob has received fellowships from Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the Fulbright Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She has been invited to give lectures at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Europe. Jacob is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and was a candidate for president of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. She has served on the editorial boards of Journal of Modern History, Restoration, Journal of British Studies, Isis , and Eighteenth Century Studies .

Margaret Jacob is an excellent cook and an avid home keeper. She enjoys water coloring and reading.

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