Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is known for her books on early New England, but she is not a native of the region. She grew up among the potato farms and sagebrush of eastern Idaho in a town that was on the main highway to Yellowstone National Park. On clear days, which were common, you could see the Grand Tetons in the distance. Her western upbringing accounts for her Rocky Mountain accent and for her fascination with the way New England history came to dominate national culture. She remembers in second grade sitting cross-legged in a pseudo-Indian costume reciting lines from Longfellow’s Hiawatha, and she remembers driving through the lava-filled moonscape of southern Idaho singing “Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go.” 

She came to New England in 1960 with her husband, Gael Ulrich, who completed an Sc.D. in Chemical Engineering at MIT. She completed her own graduate work at the University of New Hampshire while raising her five children. She came to Harvard in 1995 and now lives in Cambridge. 

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Position: 300th Anniversary University Professor

Field: United States

Specialty: Early American Social History; Women's History; Material Culture

Fall 2013:
- United States in the World 30: Tangible Things: Harvard Collections in World History

Spring 2014:
- History 2430: Working with Harvard Collections: Research Seminar
- Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality 1442: Well Behaved Women

Contact Info

Robinson Hall

Room 121

35 Quincy St.

Cambridge, MA 02138



Office Hours: Monday 3:15-5