Profile profile for NicklesS

Shelley Nickles


Ph.D., American History, University of Virginia
M.A., Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, U. Delaware
B.A., History, Cornell University

Research Specialties: 

20th century American social and cultural history, cultural history of technology, women and gender, family and childhood, social reform and material culture, mass consumption, industrial design




  • Evaluation of post-1945 home and family life collections at NMAH, 2004
  • Korean Adoption: An American Family Story, 2003, curator of exhibit, original research and collecting project.
  • Within These Walls, opened 2001, co-curator
  • History in a Vacuum, 1999-2000, co-curator
  • US Book and Exhibition Review Editor, Home Cultures: The Journal of Architecture, Design and Domestic Space
  • Associate Professorial Lecturer, George Washington University, American Studies Dept.
  • Instructor and Advisor, Parsons School of Design, History of Decorative Arts M.A. Program
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 


  • Smithsonian Pre-doctoral Fellowship
  • University of Virginia Academic Enhancement Fellowship
  • Wolfsonian Museum Fellowship
  • Hagley-Winterthur Fellowship in Arts and Industries
  • Lois F. McNeil Graduate Fellowship, Winterthur
Professional Affiliations: 

Organization of American Historians

Society for the History of Technology

Design History Society


"More is Better: Gender, Class Identity, and Mass Consumption in Postwar America," American Quarterly, Dec. 2002.

Offers a reconsideration of postwar class relations by exploring the influence of working-class women on American social life and culture.

"Preserving Women: Refrigerator Design as Social Process in the 1930s," Technology and Culture, Oct. 2002.

Analyzes the design and acceptance of new domestic technologies in the 1930s as part of defining a modern American social order.

"A History of Clean," pamphlet co-authored with Barbara Clark Smith, National Museum of American History, 1999.

Examines the social history of housework in America through artifacts used to clean the home.

"The Bryn Athyn Cathedral Project: Craft, Community and Faith" in Bert Denker, ed. The Substance of Style:Perspectives on the American Arts and Crafts Movement, Winterthur, 1996.

Explores the relationship between religion and craft in an early twentieth-century community.

Historic Furnishings Report, Building 34/35, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, co-authored with Carol Petravage and Patricia Craig, National Park Service, 1995.

Illuminates the influence of martial law on civilian life during the Civil War in Harpers Ferry.