My first career was in journalism, and I was fortunate to be a reporter on a newspaper staff that won the Pulitzer Prize — the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel, in 1983. I moved to Philadelphia to work for the Inquirer, where I was an editor for local Neighbors sections and on the National Desk. While there, I began taking graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania, and the rest is, well, history.
“History Through Discovery” is my approach to teaching, research, and service through public history. In addition to teaching in the Department of History, I served as director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers-Camden between 2010 and 2023, and I lead two public history research projects: Learning From Cooper Street and The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. My fields of graduate training are U.S. culture and material culture, nineteenth and twentieth centuries; U.S. social and political history, 1820s-1880s; U.S. popular culture, twentieth century; and world history (teaching and major themes). I also do research and teach courses in public history and urban and suburban history.
Projects and books:
- Learning From Cooper Street digital archive and project blog.
- Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia
- Capital of the World: The Race to Host the United Nations (companion website with teaching guides, document links, and blog)
- Independence Hall in American Memory (companion website with teaching and staff development guides, case studies, and documents)
Ph.D., Temple University (History); Master of Liberal Arts, University of Pennsylvania; Bachelor of Science, Ball State University (Journalism and Political Science).