Historian Robin Cutler has worked outside of academia for most of her professional career. Between 1979 and 1984, she was the project director and co-producer of ROANOAK, an Emmy-nominated miniseries for PBS’ American Playhouse. The series recreated the clash of cultures between Native Americans and Elizabethan explorers in what is now North Carolina. New York Times critic John O’Connor found it “admirably ambitious” and “quietly and consistently compelling.”
As a Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and a Contributing Editor for the American Historical Association’s Perspectives, Robin continued to bring extraordinary stories to a broad audience. While president of a Washington D.C. not-for-profit, Media Resource Associates, Inc. (1989-1999), she joined forces with several Native American tribes to document their histories and cultures. Robin was a writer and producer of Indian America: A Gift from the Past, an award-winning PBS documentary that explores how archaeology and oral tradition define the Makah Indian nation. Narrated by Wes Studi, (Dances with Wolves), the film, which was made in close collaboration with the Makah, became a classic in its field. MRA also created a collection of oral history resources with the Wampanoag in Aquinnah (Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts), and more than a dozen cultural resource videos with the Blackfeet Nation in Browning, Montana.
Robin’s first book, A Soul on Trial: A Marine Corps Mystery at the Birth of the Twentieth Century ( Rowman & Littlefield) was named a “notable Naval Book of 2007” and featured on the History News Network. In 2012, she published The Laughing Desert, the story of Arizona humorist Dick Wick Hall’s nationally syndicated Salome Sun. The book includes a replica of the 1925-1926 illustrated paper and a Foreword by Arizona State Historian Marshall Trimble. Part of an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project, it was featured in the Yuma Sun on November 9, 2012.
Such Mad Fun (2016), Robin’s latest book, explores the impact of popular culture on women’s identity and self-esteem through the story of author and screenwriter Jane Hall. Jane’s unprecedented journey from Salome, Arizona, to Depression-era Manhattan and on to Hollywood during its Golden Age is an unforgettable tale, made even more so because Jane was Robin’s mother. Excerpts from the book have been featured in Vanity Fair and The Daily Beast. Such Mad Fun was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016; it is also the Foreword INDIES book of the year award Gold winner (biography). Press and reviews for her books can be found here.
Robin taught in universities for almost a decade and was a mentor at Hunter College for several years; she has been a scholarship scorer for The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties and a member of the grants committee of Impact the Palm Beaches. She supports organizations such as the Sierra Club, PBS, the Doe Fund, the Oakland Public Library, and the Humane Society of the United States. Robin earned a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University; her professional memberships include the Author’s Guild, the Organization of American Historians, the California Writers Club and Phi Beta Kappa.
After a lifetime spent primarily in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, Robin has joined her daughters and their families in California. She now lives in Oakland.
To reach Robin please use this website’s contact form.
*Robin was known professionally as Robin C. Maw until 1994.