Marie Jenkins Schwartz


Marie Jenkins Schwartz, Ph.D. taught at Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, Maryland, before accepting a position at the University of Rhode Island where for twenty years she offered courses in the history of slavery and in the history of the early United States. She is currently professor emeritus of history at URI and an independent scholar and writer. Her latest book, called Ties That Bound: Founding First Ladies and Slaves (Chicago University Press in 2016), depicts the world created by Martha Washington, Martha Jefferson, Martha (Patsy) Jefferson Randolph, Dolley Madison and the people they enslaved. She has begun another book on the First Ladies (Scandal in the White House: First Ladies and Presidential Deceits), which argues that the reaction of First Ladies to the scandalous behavior of husbands has mattered for the stability of the nation.

Schwartz is the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and other research awards from the American Historical Association, the John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization at Brown University, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists/McNeil Foundation and from the University of Rhode Island, including its Center for the Humanities. In 2000, her book Born in Bondage won the Julia Cherry Spruill Publication Prize for Best Book in Southern Women’s History, given by the Southern Association for Women Historians.


  • 1994   Ph.D.   University of Maryland, College Park
  • 1987   M.A.     George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
  • 1984   B.A.      George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Selected Publications

Ties that Bound: Founding First Ladies and Slaves (Chicago University Press, 2017)

Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South (Harvard University Press, 2006)

Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South (Harvard University Press, 2000)

“The WPA Narratives as Historical Sources,” in The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative, ed. John Ernest (Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 2014).