Jan Ellen Lewis, Historian and Rutgers Dean, Dies

Lewis was a nationally renowned scholar of Colonial and Early American history and a member of the Rutgers community since 1977. She became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-Newark in 2013.

The dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-Newark, Jan Ellen Lewis, passed away on August 28, 2018. She was 69 years old. Lewis has been a member of the Rutgers community since 1977, when she began teaching American History at the Newark campus. She became dean in 2013. Prior to this appointment, she had served as acting dean of the college twice. Lewis also taught PhD courses at Rutgers-New Brunswick and was a visiting professor at Princeton University.

Lewis was a nationally renowned scholar of Colonial and Early American history. She was the author of The Pursuit of Happiness: Family and Values in Thomas Jefferson’s America (1983) as well as numerous articles and reviews; co-editor of An Emotional History of the United States (1998), Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: History, Memory, and Civic Culture (1999), and The Revolution of 1800: Democracy, Race & the New Republic (2002); and co-author of the college-level textbook, Of the People, which will be published in its fourth edition in September, 2018. Lewis was also involved in a number of national and local humanities organizations, serving as chair of the New Jersey Historical Commission and the American Historical Association’s Committee on Women Historians, and served on a number of other boards including the New Jersey Council for the Humanities Board of Trustees. 

A celebration of Dr. Lewis’ life will be held at the Paul Robeson Campus Center at Rutgers-Newark on October 13, 2018, from 2pm to 4pm. All are welcome. A scholarship fund has also been established in her honor. More information about Dr. Lewis’ life and impact, as well as details for contributing to the scholarship fund, are available from Rutgers-Newark.