Martha Vail holds an A. B. in history from Smith College and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D., all in history, from Yale University. A former fellow with the University of Colorado's Center for Humanities and the Arts and with the Bass Writing Program, Vail has taught history at Yale University and Tulane University. She served as program officer for the National Faculty for four years, where she designed and implemented multi-year, content-based professional development programs for urban and rural social studies teachers in the Mississippi Delta and recruited and managed a corps of scholars to work with educators in the field. She is a member of the National Council on Public History, Organization of American Historians, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.