Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


Memorials: Pauline Maier

Pauline Maier served on the Council of the Omohundro Institute from 1981 to 1984.

Pauline Maier

Photograph courtesy of Andrea Maier

Remembering Pauline Maier

Pauline Maier was an excellent scholar, terrific teacher, and model colleague. More than that, she was a true friend and a fount of joy, laughter, fun stories, and infectious enthusiasm.

As a young instructor, I worked with Pauline at MIT in 1980–81. After I took a job at Oberlin College, we kept in touch and saw each other occasionally at professional meetings. In 1993, she came out to Oberlin to give a talk and stayed with Carol Lasser and me and our three young boys. In 2005, as our twins were beginning their college search, she met with them in Cambridge, softly pitching MIT—as she had done when they were four and she first discovered their intellectual gifts. I believe she was pleased that one of them finally landed at MIT as a graduate student in 2010.

Throughout the many years of our relationship, Pauline treated me as an equal even though I was much less accomplished than she. She was always generous with her enormous knowledge of early American history and with her quite practical tips on how to juggle the demands of career and family. We could go for a year or two without contact and then resume our conversation—either in person, over the phone, or by email—as if there had been no interruption.

Pauline Maier was, in sum, a wonderful, vibrant, irrepressible individual. I feel incredibly fortunate to have known and learned from her.

Gary J. Kornblith
Oberlin College