History and Art History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Cynthia A. Kierner

Cynthia A. Kierner

Cynthia A. Kierner


U.S. History: Colonial and revolutionary America; early republic; Old South; women and gender

Cindy Kierner received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1986. A specialist in the fields of early America, women and gender, and early southern history, she is the author or editor of seven books and many articles. Kierner is an OAH Distinguished Lecturer and past president of the Southern Association for Women Historians (SAWH), and she has served on several editorial boards. Her research has received support from the American Historical Association, the Virginia Historical Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She joined the department in 2008 and became Director of the Ph.D. Program in August 2010.

Current Research

Kierner is editing Virginia Women: Their Lives and Times, volume 1, for the University of Georgia Press (which includes her own essay, "Grace Sherwood: The Virginia Witch"). Her current research is on disasters in American history through the Civil War era.

Selected Publications

Changing History: Virginia Women through Four Centuries (coauthor; 2013).

Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times (2012).

The Contrast: Manners, Morals, and Authority in the Early American Republic (2007).

Scandal at Bizarre: Rumor and Reputation in Jefferson’s America (2004).

Revolutionary America, 1750-1815: Sources and Interpretation(2002).

“‘The dark and dense cloud perpetually lowering over us’: Gender and the Decline of the Gentry in Postrevolutionary Virginia,” Journal of the Early Republic (2000).

Beyond the Household: Women's Place in the Early South, 1700-1835 (1998).

Southern Women in Revolution, 1776-1800: Personal and Political Narratives (1998).

“Gender, Hospitality, and Sociability in the Southern Colonies,” Journal of Southern History (1996).

Traders and Gentlefolk: The Livingstons of New York, 1675-1790 (1992).

Courses Taught

Undergraduate: Revolutionary America, Jefferson’s America (HIST 300), World of the Founders (HIST 499), America History through Autobiography

Graduate: Colonial America, Revolutionary Era, Leisure in America, American Disasters

Dissertations Supervised

Gwen White on George Washington, Mount Vernon, and the wider Virginia and Atlantic communities

Jon Barth on banking and political culture on the early America republic

Recent Presentations

"'We Cannot be Tame Spectators': Four Centuries of Virginia Women's History," Virginia Historical Society, Mar. 2014.

"Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times"--various venues

"Women, Tea, and Politics in Early America," Mary Baldwin College, Mar. 2014.

“Virginia Women and the Politics of the Early Republic: the Strange Case of Martha Jefferson Randolph,” 2nd Annual Crenshaw Lecture, Virginia Commonwealth University, Nov. 2010.

“Martha Jefferson Randolph and the Performance of Domesticity: Politics, Patriarchy, and Presidents in the Early Republic,” Newberry Seminar on Women and Gender, Oct. 2010.

 “Writing a History of Virginia Women: Opportunities and Challenges,” Southern Historical Association, Oct. 2009.

 “Scandal at Bizarre: Sex, Rhetoric, and Reality in Jefferson’s Virginia,” Frostburg State University, Feb. 2009.

Dissertations Supervised

Gwendolyn White, Commerce and Community: Plantation Life at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 1754 to 1799 (2016)

Jonathan Barth, Money, Mercantilism and Empire in the Early English Atlantic, 1607-1697 (2014)