Nancy Koester holds a PhD in church history and has taught at both the college and seminary levels. She is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Her work focuses on nineteenth-century American history, especially the antislavery movement, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. She is inspired by women of that era who, though lacking basic rights, found ways to move the nation closer to its own ideals. Koester's 2013 publication with Eerdmans, Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life, won the Minnesota Book Award in 2015 in General Nonfiction. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband Craig.