Wineapple elected member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Publication Date

Brenda Wineapple, the Doris Zemurray Stone Professor of Modern Literary and Historical Studies, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Wineapple is among a new class of 220 accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts to join one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.

Other members include film icons Clint Eastwood and Mel Brooks; pianist, conductor and composer Andre Previn; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; television journalist Judy Woodruff; and Amazon founder Jeffrey Bezos.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony Oct. 6, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

“Professor Wineapple is a gifted writer and biographer who has made important literary figures come alive for our generation, in part through her exploration of the relationships in their lives,” said Therese A. McCarty, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “I’m delighted that she is receiving this well-deserved honor and recognition.”

Wineapple is teaching a junior seminar on Dickinson and a course on Modern Poetry this term.

Her books include Genêt: A Biography of Janet Flanner; Sister Brother: Gertrude and Leo Stein; and Hawthorne: A Life, which received the Ambassador Award of the English-speaking Union for the best biography of 2003 and the Julia Ward Howe Prize from the Boston Book Club. Her most recent book, 2008’s White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize. The book was also a winner of the Washington Arts Club National Award for arts writing and a New York Times “Notable Book” for 2008, as well as named "Best Book of 2008" by a host of newspapers and magazines.

She is completing a narrative nonfiction account of America, 1848-1877 (HarperCollins) and writing a book about biography (Knopf). To learn more, visit her website.

Wineapple’s essays, articles and reviews have appeared regularly in national publications such as The American Scholar, New York Times Book Review and The Nation.

Wineapple won a 2009 Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and she's been awarded two fellows from the National Endowment for the Humanities. A fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University, she served as chair of the nonfiction panel for the National Book Awards in 2005.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.