John R. Cole

  • 207-786-6074
  • History
  • Thomas Hedley Reynolds Professor Emeritus of History
  • Hathorn Hall, Room 105

B.A., Haverford College; Ph.D., Harvard University

It’s odd that even when asked to ‘reduce’ one’s personal or professional identity to a paragraph, the temptation is to cut out the everyday realities and to bring together a few mileposts that foreshorten perspectives and ‘augment’ the figure. If I have one basic conviction, it’s that the everyday is what matters most, that it is different for different persons, and that it changes over time. Educational mileposts: I have a bachelor’s degree from Haverford and a doctorate from Harvard. The latter may seem to loom larger, but I learned much more and more happily at little Haverford than at great Harvard, and I have gone on to learn much more and more happily while teaching at little Bates. I am convinced that a highly selective private liberal arts college offers a superior setting for most sorts of learning. Scholarly mileposts: I have published monographs on Descartes and Pascal, both of them concerned to relate everyday realities of family life to formal thought and writing. I am now more interested in trying to write a more accessible history that would be more useful to more persons, particularly, to reconsider advocates for women’s rights in the era of the French Revolution.


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