Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
State University of New York at Fredonia
Website URL
US cultural history, domestic gift giving, material culture, consumer culture, Gilded Age/Progressive Era, American public holidays
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am Professor Emerita of History at the State University of New York at Fredonia. I have also been a Fulbright Scholar at Szeged University in Hungary. I am co-editor of the Journal of Festive Studies (through 2022).

My research interests center on cultural rituals, particularly those related to holidays and festive occasions. My publications include America’s Public Holidays 1865-1920 (2000) and articles on American holidays and gift giving. My current research project is a cultural history of gift giving in the United States.

Recent Publications
  • “Taking Aim at ‘Exchange Gifts’ and the ‘Christmas Tax’: Dangerous Gifts in the Progressive Era and the Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving.” In The Dangers of Gifts from Antiquity to the Digital Age, ed. Alexandra Urakova, Tracey A. Sowerby, Tudor Sala. New York: Routledge, Forthcoming September 2022.
  • “Gifts and Charity.” The Oxford Handbook of Christmas, ed. Timothy Larsen, 277-87. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
  • “Defining the Gift: From Emerson to the Gift Registry.” Americana E-Journal of American Studies in Hungary 11 (Fall 2015),
  • “George’s Story: Dolls and the Material Culture of Christmas.” Object Lessons. Common-place 12:3 (April 2012),
  • “From the ‘ornamental and evanescent’ to ‘good, useful things’: Redesigning the Gift in Progressive America.” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 10 (October 2011): 467-505.
Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic