Pauline Maier was born on April 27, 1938 in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received an undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Radcliffe College in 1960, studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science on a Fulbright scholarship, and received a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. She was a history professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for three decades. She wrote several books including From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776, The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams, and American Sculpture: Making the Declaration of Independence. She won the George Washington Book Prize for Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788. She died of lung cancer on August 12, 2013 at the age of 75.