Kimberly A. Hamlin is an award-winning historian, author, and professor specializing in the history of women, gender, and sex in the United States. Her most recent book Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener (W.W. Norton 2020, paperback 2022) tells the fascinating story of the “fallen woman” who reinvented herself and became “the most potent factor” in Congressional passage of the Nineteenth Amendment and the highest-ranking woman in federal government. Free Thinker centers both sex and race in the history of women’s rights and in the long struggle for the vote. The American Library Association’s Booklist magazine named Free Thinker a “Top Ten Biography of 2020,” and it was long-listed for the 2020 Chautauqua Prize. This project received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar Award and the Carrie Chapman Catt Award for Research on Women and Politics. Hamlin is also the author of From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
A regular contributor to the Washington Post’s “Made by History” column and other media, Hamlin speaks to audiences across the country about women’s and gender history. She is a member of the Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer Bureau and the Ohio Humanities Council Speaker’s Bureau. Her research on women, gender, science, and politics has been featured in various media outlets including NPR and CBC radio, Vice, and qz.com. To invite Kimberly Hamlin speak at your event, please visit the Contact page.
Hamlin grew up outside of Syracuse, New York, not far from the historical homes of many of the women she writes about today. After graduating from Georgetown University, she worked for women running for office and on Capitol Hill. In 2000, Hamlin left Washington to pursue a PhD in American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin. Hamlin has also written on the origins of the Miss America Pageant, the history of the Girl Scouts, bearded ladies, women running for President, Darwin in America, and the Equal Rights Amendment. In addition, she has worked on several public history projects focused on women and contributed to various PBS documentaries, including “Let Ohio Women Vote” (winner of a regional Emmy) and “Troop 1500.” Since 2007, Hamlin has taught at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she is now the James and Beth Lewis Professor of History. Hamlin lives with her family in Cincinnati, Ohio where she hosts the Mercantile Library’s Allgood-McLean “Women You Should Know” Series. She also serves on the Board of the Mercantile Library and on the Board of the League of Women Voters of the United States.