About

Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Deborah Cohen was educated at Harvard (BA) and Berkeley (Ph.D.).  She is Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Humanities and Professor of History at Northwestern University.  Her specialty is modern European history, with a focus on Britain.

Cohen’s research has been funded by the Mellon Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, the American Council of Learned Societies (Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

She is the author of three books:  The War Come Home (University of California Press, 2001), Household Gods:  The British and their Possessions (Yale, 2006), and Family Secrets, published in 2013 by Viking Penguin in the UK, Canada, Australia, India, and New Zealand and by Oxford University Press in the US. 

Press Reviews

Lares et Penates

Sunday, October 1, 2006
Literary Review
Miranda Seymour

“[An] excellent book….what we’ve lost is the sense of fun that Deborah Cohen glowingly conveys.”  

‘No nation has identified itself more with the house,’ a German visitor remarked of earlier twentieth-century Britain.  Looking from the outside, this comment would seem only to apply to the lucky handful of people who have the money, and the requisite number of acres, to indulge their taste for idiosyncratic magnificence.  Deborah Cohen’s book looks in another, and more rewarding, direction.  It isn’t the splendours of aristocratic collections that interest her, but the rise of the middle class and, much slower, that of home-ownership.