Jacobs, Jo Ellen 1952-

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JACOBS, Jo Ellen 1952-


Born November 21, 1952 in Flora, IL; daughter of Gene (a farmer) and Patricia (a teacher) Workman; married Gary Jacobs (a judge), June 7, 1975; children: Megan, Emily. Education: Eastern Illinois University, B.S., 1973; Boston College, M.A., 1975; Washington University, Ph.D., 1977.


Home—2339 Ellington Place, Charleston, IL 61920. Office—c/o Millikin University, 1184 West Main, Decatur, IL 62522. E-mail—[email protected]


Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, assistant professor, 1977-80; Millikin University, Decatur, IL, assistant professor, 1981-87; associate professor, 1987-93; professor of philosophy, 1993—, chair of department.


American Society for Aesthetics, American Philosophical Association.


Grants from Illinois Humanities Council and Decatur Area Arts Council, 1989 and 1991, respectively; Griswold Distinguished Professor of Philosophy citation, Millikin University, 1990-92, 1995-97, 2004-06; Teacher of the Year award, Millikin University, 1998.


(Editor) The Complete Works of Harriet Taylor Mill, 1807-1858, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1998.

The Voice of Harriet Taylor Mill, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2002.

Associate editor of "New Studies in Aesthetics" series for online journal Contemporary Aesthetics, by Peter Lang Publishing; aesthetics subject editor, Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, Thoemmes Press, 1995. Contributor to books, including Approaches to Teaching Masterpieces of World Literature, Modern Language Association (New York, NY), 1988; Encyclopedia of Time, edited by Samuel L. Macy, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1994; Nineteenth-Century British Women Writers, edited by Abigail Burnham Bloom, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2000; Presenting Women Philosophers, edited by Cecile Tougas and Sara Ebenreck, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2000; and Gendering Western Philosophy, edited by Karen J Warren, Prentice Hall; Encyclopedia of Europe, Gale/Thomson.

Contributor of articles to scholarly journals, including Hypatia, Journal of the Aesthetic, Journal of Psychohistory, and Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.


Jo Ellen Jacobs is an American philosophy professor and writer whose research focuses on aesthetics and on women philosophers. Much of her work has involved reevaluating the historical and intellectual reputation of Harriet Taylor Mill, wife and intellectual partner of celebrated British utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill. Jacobs has also written about such diverse philosophical topics as musical time and the aesthetics of snow.

Jacobs' first book, The Complete Works of Harriet Taylor Mill, 1807-1858, was welcomed by reviewers for presenting Taylor's thoughtful, incisive writings. Gail Tulloch, writing in Victorian Studies, stated that the book is a "comprehensive, meticulously researched and edited work." Jacobs presents strong evidence of Harriet Taylor Mill's philosophical influence on her husband and on the latter's commitment to women's rights. The book also reexamines Mill as an important Victorian commentator on a variety of social issues.

Canadian Woman Studies contributor Judy Steed, reviewing The Voice of Harriet Taylor Mill, questioned the validity of Jacobs' approach, which, the critic noted, is both the book's "strength and weakness." The biography "consists largely of a journal invented by Jacobs, written in the first person—as if Harriet Taylor Mill is speaking directly to the reader." On the other hand, Steed noted that Jacobs "has achieved her goal of creating history imbued with a lively sense of intimacy."



Canadian Woman Studies, winter, 2004, Judy Steed, review of The Voice of Harriet Taylor Mill, p. 175.

Hypatia, winter, 2001, Ruth Abbey, review of The Complete Works of Harriet Taylor Mill, 1807-1858, p. 94.

Library Journal, July, 1998, Martha Henn, review of The Complete Works of Harriet Taylor Mill, p. 109.

Victorian Studies, spring, 2001, Gail Tulloch, review of The Complete Works of Harriet Taylor Mill, p. 513.


Millikin University Web site,http://www.millikin.edu/ (September 21, 2004), profile of Jo Ellen Jacobs.

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