Emily Bernard was born in Nashville, Tennessee. She has a B.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. She has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. She teaches in the English Department and ALANA U.S. Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Vermont. Bernard is editor of Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, 1925-1964.