Cynthia E. Russett focuses her research and teaching on American intellectual life in the 20th century, the history of American women and the intellectual history of the Gilded Age, among other topics.
A particular interest for Russett has been the effects of science on non-scientific culture. Her 1989 book Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood, which examines the ways in which male scientists and thinkers of the Victorian era attempted to prove that women were inferior to men, won the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Annual Book Award.
Russett’s other books include Darwin in America: The Intellectual Response, 1865-1912, The Concept of Equilibrium in American Social Thought and The Extraordinary Mrs. R.: A Friend Remembers Mrs. Roosevelt (with William Levy). She is coauthor, with Tracy Schier, of Beyond the Seven Sisters: Colleges Founded by Women’s Religious Orders and coedited the two-volume Second to None: A Documentary History of American Women. She is currently engaged in a study of women intellectuals and the conditions of intellectual life for American women in the post-World War II era.
The historian’s numerous articles and book reviews have appeared in such publications as the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the History of Education Quarterly, the American Historical Review, Isis and the New England Quarterly, among others.
A graduate of Trinity College in Washington, D.C., Russett earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale in 1959 and 1964, respectively. She won the George Washington Eggleston Prize for best dissertation in American history in 1964. She joined the Yale faculty as a lecturer in 1967 and was promoted to a full professorship in 1990.
Russett was a fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center 1992-1995 and was a visiting scholar at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Social Science and Humanities in 1984. She is a member of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians.
Yale University Ph.D. 1964
- The Extraordinary Mrs. R: A Friend Remembers Eleanor Roosevelt, J.Wiley and Son, 1999 (with William Turner Levy)
- Second to None: A Documentary History of American Women—From 1865 to the Present, University of Nebraska Press, 1996 (ed. with Ruth Barnes Moynihan and Laurie Crumpacker)
- Second to None: A Documentary History of American Women—From the Sixteenth Century to 1865, University of Nebraska Press, 1993 (ed. with Ruth Barnes Moynihan and Laurie Crumpacker)
- Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood, Harvard University Press, 1989, 1991.
- Darwin in America: The Intellectual Response, 1865-1912, Freeman, 1976.
- The Concept of Equilibrium in American Social Thought, Yale University Press, 1966.