Professor of History Profile Image
Professor of History History 402-472-2414 636 Oldfather Hall


I received my Ph.D. in American History from the University of Chicago in 1982. My areas of specialization are 19th century United States social and urban history. I am particularly interested in the intersection between local, regional, and national history, and consider myself a regional historian of the Midwest including Nebraska. Within that framework my research has focused on the economic and social history of small towns and cities across the Midwest and West, the development of the middle class in 19th century America, and the role that gender – particularly men’s culture – played in that development. Currently, my focus is on the Civil War era and the Gilded Age. My work also focuses more generally on gender history, an international comparative history of the middle class or bourgeoisie, regionalism, spatial history and interdisciplinary approaches to the history of the 19th century. I am also interested in historiography and historical theory.

All of these interests converge in my new book From Hometown to Battlefield in the Civil War Era: Middle Class Life in Midwest America, published by Cambridge University Press in May, 2016. 


History 110: 100 United States History
History 243: Early America to 1800
History 244: 19th Century America
History 335: Age of the American Revolution
History 344: American Urban and Social History
History 445: Civil War and Reconstruction
History 446: Gilded Age America
History 918: 19th Century Interdisciplinary Studies
History 941: Seminar in United States History

  • With Wendy Katz, “Introduction, Regionalism and the Humanities: Decline or Revival?” in co-ed., with Wendy Katz, Regionalism and the Humanities (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008). 
  • "Middle Class Experience in the United States in the Gilded Age, 1865-1900" Journal of Urban History (2005).
  • "The Small City in American History" Indiana Magazine of History (2003): 211-30.
  • "The Rise and Fall of the Booster Ethos in Dubuque, 1850-1861" Annals of Iowa (2002): 371-419.
  • "The Great Sheedy Murder Trial and the Booster Ethos of the Gilded Age in Lincoln" Nebraska History (2001): 163-79.
  • "Review Essay: “A Bachelor’s World,” A Review of Howard Chudacoff’s ‘The Age of the Bachelor’ H-URBAN on H-Net, December, 2000, pp. 1-12." H-Urban. (2000).
  • "'A Common Band of Brotherhood': The Booster Ethos, Male Subcultures, and the Origins of Urban Social Order in the Midwest of the 1840s" Journal of Urban History (1999): 619-46.
  • “Elihu B. Washburne - Son of Maine, Resident of Illinois: Westward Migration in Antebellum America” Maine History (1995): 62-81.
  • “Down in Davenport (II), The Social Response of Antebellum Elites to Regional Urbanization,” Annals of Iowa, 50 (Fall 1990): 593-622" Annals of Iowa (1990).
  • “Down in Davenport (I), Antebellum Town Economic Development in a Regional Perspective,” Annals of lowa, 50 (Summer 1990): 451 74." Annals of Iowa (1990).
  • “Urban History in a Regional Context: River Towns on the Upper Mississippi, 1840-1860” Journal of American History (1985): 318-39.

Gilded Age Plains City: The Great Sheedy Murder Trial and the Booster Ethos of Lincoln, Nebraska


Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1982
M.A., University of Chicago, 1976
B.A., College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass., 1975


19th Century United States;
Social and Regional History;
Urban History