Jon Grinspan

Jon Grinspan

Curator of Political History

Ph.D.   University of Virginia, History, 2013
M.A.    University of Virginia, History, 2008
B.A.     Sarah Lawrence College, 2006

Research Specialties: 

My work explores the reciprocal relationship between politics and popular culture in American history.

My first book, The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century, uncovers a forgotten era when young men and women fueled American democracy. 

I’m currently researching a second book on the long struggle for control of American politics fought between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the 20th century.

I also work on a variety of other subjects, from Civil War coffee to young people's courtships to  political rioting in 19th century America. 

Please feel free to contact me with questions or thoughts.


"Virgins, Booze, and American Elections," New York Times, April 8, 2016.
"When Anger Trumped Progress" New York Times, January 16, 2016
"How Generational Divisions Have Driven Down Voter Turnout in the United States," The Atlantic, July 30, 2016.
"America's 'Violent Little Partisans,'" The Atlantic, May 8, 2016.
The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
"D.I.Y Education Before YouTube" New York Times, July 11, 2015
"Was Abolitionism a Failure?" New York Times, January 30, 2015.
"A Birthday Like None Other: Turning Twenty-One in the Age of Popular Politics" Age in America: The Colonial Era to the Present, Ed. Corinne Field (New York: New York University Press, 2015), 86-102.
"Don't Throw the Bums Out" New York Times, September 12, 2014
"How Coffee Fueled the Civil War," New York Times, July 9, 2014
"The Wild Children of Yesteryear" New York Times, May 31, 2014
"Anxious Youth, Then and Now" New York Times, December 31, 2013
"When the Civil War Came to New York," New York Times, July 13, 2013
"Riling Up the 'Shrewd, Wild Boys'" New York Times, August 9, 2012
"The Stephen Colbert of the Civil War" New York Times, June 11, 2012
"Laugh During Wartime" New York Times, January 9, 2012
“Sorrowfully Amusing: The Popular Comedy of the Civil War,” Journal of the Civil War Era, (September, 2011), 313-338.
"'Young Men for War': The Wide Awakes and Lincoln's 1860 Presidential Campaign" Journal of American History, 96 (Sept. 2009), 357–78.