Martha A. Sandweiss is professor of history at Princeton University. She received her Ph.D. in history from Yale University and began her career as a photography curator at the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas. She later taught American studies and history at Amherst College for twenty years.
The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Beinecke Library at Yale University, Sandweiss is the author or editor of numerous books on American history and photography. Her publications include Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line (2009), and Print the Legend: Photography and the American West (2002), winner of the Organization of American Historians' Ray Allen Billington Award for the best book in American frontier history and the William P. Clements Award. Her other works include Laura Gilpin: An Enduring Grace, winner of the George Wittenborn Award for outstanding art book of 1987, and the co-edited volume The Oxford History of the American West (1994), recipient of the Western Heritage Award and the Caughey Western History Association prize for the year's outstanding book in western history.
Sandweiss serves on the governing boards of the Organization of American Historians and the American Antiquarian Society, and consults broadly on issues relating to the use of visual images for historical research and teaching.
The secret double life of the man who mapped the American West, and the woman he loved
Clarence King was a late nineteenth-century celebrity, a brilliant scientist and explorer once described by Secretary of State John Hay as "the best and brightest of his generation." But King hid a secret from his Gilded Age cohorts and prominent family in Newport: for thirteen years he lived a double life-the first as the prominent white geologist and writer Clarence King, and a second as the black Pullman porter and steelworker named James Todd. The fair, blue-eyed son of a wealthy China trader passed across the color line, revealing his secret to his black common-law wife, Ada Copeland, only on his deathbed. In Passing Strange, noted historian Martha A. Sandweiss tells the dramatic, distinctively American tale of a family built along the fault lines of celebrity, class, and race- a story that spans the long century from Civil War to civil rights.