Author Bio

Daniel Horowitz, Mary Huggins Gamble Foundation Chair and Professor of American Studies Emeritus, Smith College, is a historian whose work focused on the history of consumer culture and social criticism in the U.S. during the 20th century.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1938, he was educated at James Hillhouse High School, Yale College (B.A., magna cum laude, American Studies, 1960), Pembroke College, Cambridge, England (European history, 1960-61), and Harvard University (PhD, History, 1967). He spent most of his career at Scripps College in California (1972-88) where he eventually was Nathaniel Wright Stephenson Professor of History and Biography and at Smith College (1989 to 2012) where he directed the American Studies program for 18 years and was, for a time, Sylvia Dlugasch Bauman Professor of American Studies. For 2010-11, he was the Ray A. Billington Visiting Professor of U.S. History at Occidental College and Huntington Library.

Among the honors he has received are two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and one from the National Humanities Center; an appointment as Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Harvard University; and for 2008-09 a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 1997, the American Studies Association awarded him the Constance Rourke Prize for his 1996 article “Rethinking Betty Friedan and The Feminine Mystique: Labor Union Radicalism and Feminism in Cold War America,” American Quarterly. The American Studies Association awarded him its 2003 Mary C. Turpie Prize for “outstanding abilities and achievement in American Studies teaching, advising, and program development at the local or regional level.”

Among his publications are The Morality of Spending: Attitudes Toward the Consumer Society in America, 1875-1940 (1985), selected by Choice as one of the outstanding academic books of 1985; Vance Packard and American Social Criticism (1994); Betty Friedan and the Making of The Feminine Mystique: The American Left, The Cold War, Modern Feminism (1998); The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979 (2004), selected by Choice as one of the outstanding books of 2004 and winner of the Eugene M. Kayden Prize for the best book published in the humanities in 2004 by a university press. He has edited two books for Bedford: Suburban Life in the 1950s: Selections from Vance Packard’s Status Seekers (1995) and Jimmy Carter and the Energy Crisis of the 1970: The “Crisis of Confidence” Speech of July 15, 1979;Consuming Pleasures: Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the Postwar World (2012); On the Cusp: Yale College Class of 1960 and a World on the Verge of Change (2015); Happier?: The History of A Cultural Movement That Aspired to Transform America (2018); Entertaining Entrepreneurship: Reality TV’s Shark Tank and the American Dream in Uncertain Times (2020); American Dreams, American Nightmares: Culture and Crisis in Residential Real Estate from the Great Recession to the Covid-19 Pandemic (2022).

His next project is a book on the cultural representations of bears in the United States since the 1820s.

He lives with his wife, the historian Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, in Cambridge, Mass. They are the parents of two children—Ben, a computer scientist at in the Bay Area and Sarah, a Professor of History at Washington and Lee University.

Dan and Helen Horowitz

Dan and Helen Horowitz, Santa Anita Race Track, 2011. Permission of Sean Wilentz