Current Research

My work examines the intersection of images, the law, and society in the United States.  I am currently revising a manuscript, “Branding Trust,” for publication.  This book examines the problem of counterfeit goods that ransacked the American market in the nineteenth century, the strategies used by advertising experts to combat the problem, and the effects of these on American consumers.  Tracing the development of American trademark law, it reveals early strategies to build goodwill in the material and textual appeals built by advertisers before 1920.

Books, Articles, and Public Writing 

Exchange Cards: Advertising, Album-making, and the Commodification of Sentiment in the Gilded Age,” Winterthur Portfolio 51, no. 1 (2017): 1-53.

Teaching Uncomfortable Narratives in Public History Courses,” History@Work: An Online publication of the National Council on Public History (27 September 2017).

Historical Memory and Contemporary Politics,” The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History (9 Aug 2017).

“Citizenship and Caricature: Teaching the American Past with Images,” in Art & Public History: Approaches, Opportunities, and Challenges, ed. Rebecca Bush & K. Tawny Paul (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).

Investing in Public History Students,” History@Work (8 Sept 2015).

Machines that Made History: Landmarks in Mechanical Engineering (New York: ASME Press, 2014).

“‘The Mark of Honor’: Trademark Law, Goodwill, and the Early Branding Strategies of National Biscuit,” in We Are What We Sell: How Advertising Shapes American Life…and Always Has, ed. Danielle Sarver Coombs and Bob Batchelor (Denver: Praeger / ABC-CLIO, 2014), 262-284.

“Corporate Calling Cards: Advertising Trade Cards and Logos in the US, 1876-1890.”  Journal of American Culture 32, no. 4 (2009): 291-306.

Public History Projects

Editor (with Allan Austin), Ambassadors of Goodwill: The American Friends Service Committee Abroad (May 2017), Online Exhibit, Misericordia University in Partnership with the American Friends Service Committee (Philadelphia).

Editor, Main Street Pittston and Mapping Historic Pittston (August 2016). Online Exhibits, Misericordia University in Partnership with the Greater Pittston Historical Society,

Editor, Mining the Past: Family, Faith & Industry in Postwar Pittston (August 2015). Online Exhibit, Misericordia University in Partnership with the Greater Pittston Historical Society.

Book Reviews

Peter Knight, Reading the Market: Genres of Financial Capitalism in Gilded Age America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), in H-SHGAPE, November 2016.  Online at

Louisa Iarocci, ed., Visual Merchandising: The Image of Selling (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013), Journal of American Culture 38, no. 2 (2015): 200-201.

“Envisioning Early New England,” review of Martha McNamara and Georgia Barnhill, eds., New Views of New England: Studies in Material and Visual Culture, 1680-1830 (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 2012), in H-Material Culture, August 2014.  Online at

Teresa Bergman, Exhibiting Patriotism: Creating and Contesting Interpretations of American Historic Sites (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013), in Journal of American Culture 37, no. 3 (2014): 351.

Donald C. Jackson, Pastoral and Monumental: Dams, Postcards, and the American Landscape (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013), in The Public Historian 36, no. 2 (2014): 142-144.

“Modernity: Ripe with Contradictions,” review of Thomas Welskopp and Alan Lessoff, eds., Fractured Modernity: America Confronts Modern Times, 1890s to 1940s (Munich: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2013), in H-SHGAPE, December 2013.   Online at:

Inger L. Stole, Advertising at War: Business, Consumers, and Government in the 1940s (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2012), in Journal of American Culture 36, no. 4 (2013): 364.

Selected Presentations

“‘Beware of Counterfeits!’ Using Anxiety to Build Trust in Antebellum Advertisements,” Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, Philadelphia, PA; July 2017

“‘Respectfully Soliciting your Patronage’: The Language of Legitimacy in Antebellum Advertising,” Business History Conference Annual Meeting, Denver, CO; March 2017

“‘Forget-me-not’: Autograph Albums and Memory-Making in the US,” Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Annual Conference, Charleston, SC; February 2017

“Archivists & the Public History Classroom,” Joint Meeting of the National Council on Public History and Society of History in the Federal Government, Baltimore, MD; March 2016.

“Unlikely Partners: Admen and Reformers in the Progressive Era,” Joint Meeting of the European Business History Association and the Business History Conference (US), Miami, FL; June 2015.

“Image or Object? Autograph Albums and the Materiality of Advertisements,” Visual Studies Research Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; May 2015.

“Teaching Otherness through Images,” National Council on Public History Conference, Nashville, TN; April 2015.

“Deceitful Imitators: The Moral Foundations of the 1905 Trademark Statute,” Organization of American Historians Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA; April 2014.

“‘Speaking By the Pen’: How Epistolary Etiquette Shaped Advertising Practices in the Gilded Age,” Business History Conference, Columbus, OH; March 2013.

“To Trust the Word of Another: Testimonials and Expertise in Patent-Medicine Advertising,” American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA; November 2011.

Creative Works

“Small Tokens,” memories in tribute to Okla Elliot, Mayday Magazine 11 (2017).


Download full CV: Black CV for web, 2017-18