Ph.D. University of Virginia, History, 2013
M.A. University of Virginia, History, 2008
B.A. Sarah Lawrence College, 2006
I’m a historian of politics and youth and comedy and food and booze, in 19th and early 20th century America. I like any subject that makes the past feel human and immediate, and I try to engage both the public and scholars.
My first book, The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century, uncovered the forgotten era when young men and women were the most engaged demographic in American politics. Millions of children, youths, and young adults forced their way into the life of their democracy, while their democracy forced its way into their personal lives.
I’m currently working on a second book: Is Democracy a Failure? It covers the period, from 1865 to 1905, when Americans felt deep frustration with their politics and politicians, and some concluded that the democratic experiment had failed. By following the intertwining stories of reformers, bosses, and cranks, this book tries to explain how Americans, angry with Gilded Age democracy, created 20th century America’s more restrained approach to politics.
It also asks why those norms seem to be crumbling today.
I always appreciate feedback or questions, please feel free to contact me.