Margaret Ellen Newell received her A.B. in History and Spanish from Brown University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Early American History from the University of Virginia. Ohio State University named her a Distinguished Scholar in 2020.
Professor Newell’s research and teaching interests include colonial and Revolutionary America, Native American history, slavery, the history of capitalism, and Latin American history.
Her most recent book, Brethren by Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery (Cornell University Press), won the 2016 James A. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians for the best book on the history of race relations in the U.S. and the 2016 Peter Gomes Memorial Prize from the Massachusetts Historical Society. She has given dozens of public talks and recorded radio interviews and podcasts on Indian and African slavery.
She is the author of other books and articles, including From Dependency to Independence: Economic Revolution in Colonial New England (Cornell University Press, 1998; new edition 2015); “Putting the `Political’ Back in Political Economy (This is Not Your Parents’ Mercantilism),” William and Mary Quarterly (Jan. 2012): “The Birth of New England in the Atlantic Economy, 1600-1770,” in Peter Temin, ed., Engines of Enterprise: An Economic History of New England (Harvard University Press, 2000); a review of American economic history through 1800, “The Colonial Economy,” in The Blackwell Companion to Colonial America, ed. Daniel Vickers (2002); “The Changing Nature of Indian Slavery in Colonial New England,” in Reinterpreting the Native American Past. ed. Colin Calloway and Neal Salisbury (2003); and “Indian Slavery in New England,” in Allan Gallay,ed., Indian Slavery in Colonial America (Georgia University Press, 2009).
Newell’s research has received support from the John Nicholas Brown Center, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Huntington Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Carter Brown Library, the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the American Historical Association. She has given presentations on teaching and technology and published an article,”Subterranean Digital Blues; or, How a former Technophobe Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Multimedia,” Journal of American History, 84 (March 1997). She won the Harlan Hatcher Award for Outstanding Teaching, Research and Service in 2029 was named Outstanding Faculty Member by the Sphinx and Mortar Board Senior Class Honoraries in 1999. She enjoys giving talks to public audiences and to K-12 teachers and has participated in NEH and Department of Education-funded workshops on Native American and African-American history for K-12 audiences.
Outside academia, Professor Newell has curated award-winning art exhibitions and served on local nonprofit boards. She lives in Columbus with her son and husband.