Janice P. Nimura received a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of her work on The Doctors Blackwell, a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in biography. Her previous book, Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, was a New York Times Notable book in 2015. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, The Rumpus, and LitHub, among other publications.
“The one thing I know I’ll never be is a historian,” she told her college guidance counselor in 1988. She thought she wanted to be a doctor, but life intervened: she majored in English at Yale, worked in publishing, moved to Japan with her Tokyo-born husband, and completed an M.A. in East Asian studies at Columbia upon their return to her native New York. She grew into an understanding that history is made of stories and fell in love with archival treasure-hunting, especially when it led to the forgotten lives of trailblazing nineteenth-century women. Her first book grew out of her personal interest in the earliest encounters between Japan and the United States. In her second, she circles back to her first interest in medicine, in the context of her work in women’s history. In 2023 she was elected to membership in the Society of American Historians. She is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Wesleyan University.