Hilary A. Hallett

Hilary A. Hallett

Research Interest


Ph.D. — CUNY Graduate Center, 2005
B.F.A. — Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, 1990

Interests and Research

Hilary A. Hallett is the Mendelson Family Professor and Director of American Studies and associate professor of History where she teaches modern American cultural and social history. Her areas of specialization include women and gender history; histories of popular and mass culture in transatlantic perspective; and histories of American culture industries, particularly theater, music, film, and Hollywood's history. She is interested in mass media’s relationship to social change, and to the big stories they tell about America and Americans over time.  She has written for popular outlets like the Los Angeles Times, appeared on radio and television, and worked as an historical consultant for film and television, most recently a forthcoming miniseries about actress and scientist, Hedy Lamarr. 

Professor Hallett's first book, Go West, Young Women: The Rise of Early Hollywood (2013) 
https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520274099/go-west-young-women puts the work of 
women and the sexual politics of early twentieth century America at center of how 
Hollywood emerged as worldwide phenomenon.

Her second book, Inventing the 'It Girl'; The Life & Times of Elinor Glyn explores the
influence of the British socialite and celebrity author who founded the modern
'sex novel' and taught early Hollywood how to depict heterosexual passion on
screen (due out with Norton- Liveright, summer 2022). 


Hilary Hallett regularly teaches “American History at the Movies”; “Gender History and American Film” “Culture, Memory, and Crisis,” “Civilization and Its Discontents,” and a graduate course on “Modern American Cultural History.”



  • Fellow, Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library, 2016-17 
  • Jensen-Miller Prize, for “Based on a True Story,” Western History Association, 2012 
  • Historical Society of Southern California/ Haynes Foundation Fellowship, 2007 
  • Fellow, Center for the Analysis of Culture, Rutgers University, 2004-2005
  • E. P. Thompson Dissertation Fellowship, CUNY Graduate Center, 2002-2003



  • Organization of American Historians
  • Society of Cinema and Media Studies
  • Women & the Silent Screen



Go West, Young Women! The Rise of Early Hollywood  (University of California Press, 2013).


“A Mother to the Modern Girl: Elinor Glyn and Three Weeks,” Journal of Women’s History (Aug. 2018).

“Based on a True Story: New Western Women and the Birth of Hollywood,” Pacific Historical Review (May 2012): 177 – 210.

“Women’s Migration, Early Hollywood, and the Making of Los Angeles,” in Actes de  l’histoire de l’immigration, Image et representations du genre en migration, Numero special, vol. 7 (2007): 91 – 104.