Judith P. Zinsser, Biographer
Judith P. Zinsser’s biography of Emilie Du Châtelet, available now on Amazon, is the result of her second career. Judith P. Zinsser spent twenty years as a secondary teacher at the United Nations International School in New York City where she became an expert in world history, participated in the development of the International Baccalaureate program in history, and wrote on the international women’s movement and the United Nations–she attended three of the World Decade Conferences, in Copenhagen, Nairobi and Bejing. While at UNIS, Zinsser co-authored with Bonnie S. Anderson A History of Their Own: European Women from Prehistory to the Present (HarperCollins, 1988; 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2000). New York is also where she raised her daughter, Sarah K. Lippmann, now an actress doing stage and film.
Then in 1990, just when her daughter entered college, Zinsser decided to return to graduate school– to the doctoral program at Rutgers University. This Ph.D. meant a tenure-track position at Miami University in Ohio. (She is now a full professor.) Zinsser’s next book, Feminism and History: A Glass Half Full (Macmillan, 1993) inaugurated the series on “Feminism in the Arts and Sciences,” and described the effects of feminism on history writing and the historical profession in the United States. Originally, Zinsser planned to expand the sections of this book on women historians, but the lure of the Emilie Du Châtelet was too strong. After the first research trip to Paris to read about the marquise in the summer of 1994, Judith Zinsser had a title, LA DAME d’ESPRIT, and knew that she wanted to write a new biography of this marvelous, learned French Marquise, one that went beyond the light-hearted, fluffy images of Nancy Mitford’s romantic Voltaire in Love. Fellowships, including one from the highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities, meant time to travel to archives and to write. The finished biography appeared in 2006 as Emilie du Châtelet: Daring Genius of the Enlightenment (Viking/Penguin). Read a Synopsis Biography of Emilie Zinnser then translated a selection of Emilie’s writings with a french scholar (University of Chicago, 2009) and saw to it that the originals were available on the web. Learn more about original works of Emilie du Châtelet
Judith P. Zinsser is also an international authority on Women in World History, and most recently served on the editorial Board of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History, wrote on Gender for Palgrave’s World Histories, and on the UN Decade for Women for the Journal of World History. She was President of the World History Association from 1996-98.
Judith is excited at the way the people of her biography have been brought to life and honored to have contributed to this beautiful collaboration between art, history and science.