Paula S. Fass

Margaret S. Byrne Professor Emerita

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. 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 two 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.

Her new 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, is entitled The End of American Childhood: A History of Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child (2016, Princeton University Press).

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.


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

Recent Lectures

Lectures on the History of Childhood

"Learning As Children/Acting As Parents," with Alison Gopnik, November 2, 2016 at The Women's Faculty Club (Academic Lives), 4-6 PM

"The End of American Childhood: What Has Changed?" November 9, 2016, Center for Child and Youth Policy, 4-5PM at The Women's Faculty Club

"American Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child," October 21, 2016, Child Mind Institute, New York

"The High School Revolution and American Parents," October 25, 2016, Steinhardt School of New York University

"What Mother Needs to Know: American Parenting Advice, 1900-1950," September 15, 2016, Center for Advanced Studies of te Ludwig Maxmillian Univeriversitat, Munich, German

"How Americans Raise Their Children: Parents and Children in America, 1800-2000," American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, November 15, 2013; 27th Annual Lecture of the German Historical Institute, November 14, 2013

"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.

Lectures based on Inheriting the Holocaust

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

Online Contributions

"Adolescence is no longer a bridge between childhood and adult life," Aeon

"Hillary Clinton and the Politics of Motherhood," blog post, Princeton University Press, August 8, 2016

"How Will Young Americans Vote?" blog post, Princeton University Press, June 7, 2016

Why Hillary Does not Get the Youth Vote, blog post, Princeton University Press, April 18, 2016

Young Americans Need Required National Service, blog post, Princeton University Press,March 2, 2016

Media Appearances

Radio Interview, Innovation Hub

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.

Representative Publications

The End of American Childhood: A History of Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child (Princeton University Press, 2016).

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.

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

Portrait of Professor Emerita Paula S. Fass


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