Paula S. Fass

Real name: 
Margaret S. Byrne Professor Emerita
Office Hours: 
W 12-1
2415 Dwinelle
(510) 548-4908
Curriculum Vitae: 




The Routledge History of Childhood in the Western World, edited by Paula S. Fass  (Abrington, U. K., and New York:  Routledge, 2013).

Paula S. Fass is the Margaret Byrne Professor of History Emerita at the University of California at Berkeley, where she taught for thirty-six years. Since 2010, she has also been Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Trained as a social and cultural historian of the United States at Barnard College and Columbia University, she has over the last two decades been active in developing the field of children’s history and worked to make this an interdisciplinary field with a global perspective. She was the President of the Society of the History of Children and Youth, which she helped to found, from 2007-2009.   Her books include Children of a New World:  Society, Culture, and Globalization (2007); Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America (1997); Outside In: Minorities and the Transformation of American Education (1989); The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (1977).  With Mary Ann Mason, she edited Childhood in America (2000), the first anthology in children’s history.  She was  Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society (2004) and in the past three years published tow other edited volumes on the subject of childhood: Reinventing Childhood After World War II (with Michael Grossberg) in 2011, and the Routledge History of Childhood in the Western World  published in 2013. Her family memoir, Inheriting the Holocaust:  A Second Generation Memoir (2009) recounts and examines her experiences as the daughter of concentration camp victims eager to understand the history of her new country and culture. She is currently researching and writing an interpretive history of parents and children in American history over the course of two hundred years, from the founding of the republic through the global era, tentatively entitled The End of American Childhood.  

Paula Fass has contributed to many collections in areas such as education, immigration, globalization, children’s history and children’s policy.  She toured Italy as a Department of State lecturer in 2006, and was Kerstin Hesselgren Professor in Sweden in 2007.   She has also lectured in Germany, Poland, Chile, France, Turkey, and Israel. Paula Fass often appears on radio and television as a commentator on childhood in history and contemporary culture and has been widely interviewed on celebrity trials and the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.

Among her various honors and recognitions, Fass has an honorary Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Linkoping University in Sweden, and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities (three times), and the Spencer Foundation.  She was twice a resident fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.  She is deeply honored to be a member of the American Philosophical Society. 

 Reinventing Childhood After World War II, edited with Michael Grossberg, University of  Pennsylvania Press, 2011
 Inheriting the Holocaust: A Second Generation Memoir ( Rutgers University Press, 2009, Paperback edition 2011).


Major Publications

The Routledge History of Childhood in the Western World, edited by Paula S. Fass  (Abrington, U. K., and New York:  Routledge, 2013).
Reinventing Childhood After World War II, edited with Michael Grossberg, University of  Pennsylvania Press, 2011
Inheriting the Holocaust: A Second Generation Memoir ( Rutgers University Press, 2009, Paperback edition 2011).
“The Child-Centered Family?  New Rules in Post-War America,” in Fass and Grossberg, eds., Reinventing Childhood After World War II, 1-18.
“Children on the Boundaries of History and Historiography,”Transatlantic Encounters: Philosophy, Media, Politics, edited by Elzbieta Oleksy and Wieslaw Oleksy, American Studies and Media Series (Peter Lang Verlag, 2011)
“A Historical Context for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,#633 (January 2011), 17-29.
“The World is at Our Door:  Why Historians of Children and Childhood Should Open Up,” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 1 (Winter  2008), 11-31.
Children of a New World:  Essays in Society, Culture, and the World (New York University Press,  2007).
Editor-in-chief, The Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society,Macmillan Reference, 2004-- named by Choice as  Outstanding Academic Title for 2004 and by the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association as one of its  Outstanding Reference Sources for 2005“Cultural History/Social History: Some Reflections on a Continuing Dialogue,” Journal of Social History,  (Fall 2003), 39-4
“Children and Globalization,” Journal of Social History (Summer 2003), 963-975.
Childhood in America, edited with Mary Ann Mason (New York University Press, 2000).
Kidnapped:  Child Abduction in American History (Oxford University Press, 1997; paperback Harvard University Press, 1999; Oxford paperback, 2006).
“Making and Remaking an Event:  The Leopold and Loeb Case in American Culture,” Journal of American History, 80 (December 1993), 919-51.
“Understanding American Education in the Twentieth Century,” History of Education Quarterly, 31 (Spring 1991), 57-65
Outside In:  Minorities and the Transformation of American Education (Oxford University Press, 1989; paperback, 1991).
“Without Design: Education Policy in the New Deal,” American Journal of Education, 91 (November 1982), 36-64.
The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920’s (Oxford University Press, 1977; paperback, 1979).
“Richard Hofstadter: A Bibliography,” in The Hofstadter Aegis: A Memorial, edited by Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick (Knopf, 1974) pp. 368-84.

Current Book Project:  The End of American Childhood:  Parents and Children in American History, 1800-2000.

Oral History Bancroft Library Collection
University History Series, Paula S. Fass, “American Social and Cultural Historian and Historian of Childhood, 1974-2012,” interviewed by Ann Lage, 2009


Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa, Linkoping University,  Sweden, 2008
Ph. D., Columbia University, American History, 1974
M. A.,  Columbia University, American History, 1968
A. B.,  Barnard College, magna cum laude with Honors, History, 1967     

Forthcoming Events

Paula Fass is scheduled to give the 27th Annual Lecture of the German Historical Institute on November 14, 2013 and to speak at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia on November 15, 2013.  Her subject will be:  How Americans Raise Their Children:  Parents and Children in America, 1800-2000.

Recent Lectures and Media Appernaces 

Lectures based on Inheriting the Holocaust presented at Center for Advanced Studies at the Ludwig-Maxmillians Universitat Munchen,  Germany, April 24, 2013; Georg- August-Universitat Gottingen, Germany, April 14, 2013; University of Hamburg, Germany, April 23, 2013; University of Tel Aviv Department of History and Program in Central and Eastern European Studies, May 6, 2013

Lectures on the History of Childhood

“Is There a Story in the History of Childhood?”  Distinguished Lecture Series,Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, California, October 17, 2012.
Keynote Address, International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE)“Globalization and Youth:  Past, Present, and Future,”  Geneva, Switzerland,  June 30, 2012.
 “Reinventing Childhood after World War II,” at University of Victoria, Canada, March 1, 2012; Eugene Lang College of the New School, New York, October 20, 2011; Department of History Lecture Series, University of Tel Aviv, Israel, May 30, 2011.
“Crossing Boundaries:  The Intellectual Opportunities and Logistical Challenges of  Exploring the Histories of Children,” Society for the History of Children and Youth, New York, June 23, 2011.

Recent Media Appearances

Nova, PBS, “Who Kidnapped Lindbergh’s Son,” first aired January 30, 2013.
“Backstory With the American History Guys” Paula Fass in conversation with Peter Onuf,
Interview, “Don’t Worry, Folks!  (The Kids Are Alright), a conversation with  Pat Joseph, California Magazine, 124 (Spring 2013).
Interview, “Abduction Set Course for Searches,” San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, February 10, 2013, pp. 1, 8.