Elizabeth Fenn
Distinguished Professor
Early America

HLMS 244

(Ph.D. Yale University; Professor)

Professor Fenn is the Walter and Lucienne Driskill Professor of Western American History at the University of Colorado Boulder.  Her field of study is the early American West, focusing on epidemic disease, Native American, and environmental history.  Her 2001 book Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, unearthed the devastating effects of a smallpox epidemic that coursed across the North American continent during the years of the American Revolution.  In 2014, Fenn published Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People, which analyzes Mandan Indian history from 1100 to 1845.  Fenn is now at work on an expansive biography of Sacagawea, using her life story to illuminate the wider history of the northern plains and Rockies.  Fenn is also the coauthor, with Peter H. Wood, of Natives and Newcomers: The Way We Lived in North Carolina before 1770, a popular history of early North Carolina which appeared in 1983.  In April 2015, she was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in History for her book,  “Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People.”   On September 14, 2018, Prof. Fenn was designated a Distinguished Professor by the Regents of the University of Colorado, one of the highest honors awarded to faculty.