Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of South Dakota
Website URL
celebrity, theater, popular culture, actresses, family, performers, 19th century entertainment, Fanny Kemble, Fanny Elssler, Elizabeth Greenfield,
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Personal Info

About Me

I am am an assistant professor of history and coordinator of women, gender & sexuality studies at the University of South Dakota, where I teach a range of courses on U.S. history and culture, mainly on the pre-Civil War period. My research focuses on the history of women and commercial entertainment in the long 19th century. I examine the lives  and careers of actresses, dancers, opera singers, and elocutionists from the 1790s through the 1870s, looking at their family, work environments, celebrity, and how they shaped ideas about American culture and national identity. My work speaks to contemporary questions about the history of women’s work in the entertainment industry and the representational politics (how women appear, are criticized, celebrated etc.) facing women in public life. I am also interested in women as consumers of popular culture.

Recent Publications

Check out my recent post on the history blog Nursing Clio “‘Instruction which she should avoid’: Reflections on 1830s Theater Manager Thomas Hamblin in the #MeToo Era.”

Other scholarly publications include:


“‘Thy First Temple in the Far, Far West!’ Re/Shaping Theater in St. Louis, MO 1837-1839.” Ohio Valley History (Summer 2018) <>.

“Black Swan/White Raven: the racial politics of Elizabeth Greenfield’s American concert career, 1851-1855.” American Nineteenth Century History 17, no. 1 (2016): 75-102 <>.

“Fanny Davenport, Frances Aymar Mathews, and the Play that Failed.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 73, no. 2 (Winter 2012): 214-246 <>.

Book Chapters

“The ‘Perfect Delight’ of Dramatic Reading: Gertrude Kellogg of the Post-Civil War Lyceum.” In Thinking Together: Lecturing, Learning, and Difference in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Angela G. Ray and Paul Stobb. Pennsylvania State University Press, May 2018.

“Bringing Music to the Lyceumites: The Bureaus and the Transformation of Lyceum Entertainment.” In The Cosmopolitan Lyceum: Globalism and Lecture Culture in Nineteenth-Century America, edited by Tom F. Wright, 67-90. University of Massachusetts Press, December 2013.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century
Expertise by Topic
Family, Women