I am an historian, writer, and educator living in Gainesville, Florida. As an historian, I focus on the history of men’s fashion and grooming in nineteenth-century America. My forthcoming book, Groomed for Power, will offer the first full-length treatment of the antebellum American beard movement.
In my role as an educator, I teach in the Department of History and Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida; in the departments of Humanities and Foreign Languages and Social and Behavioral Sciences at Santa Fe College; as well as at Pennsylvania State University’s online World Campus. In these settings, I have taught courses on the American Civil War, American labor history, American cultural history, fashion and body history, and business writing, as well as both halves of the U.S. history survey.
In addition to teaching, I also work as a freelance writer and public humanist. In these roles, I’ve written articles on beards, bearded women, and grooming — the subject of my scholarly research — as well as the history of community colleges, credit reporting, and telegraphy; Beyoncé, Donald Trump, and the Wright Brothers; and numerous other topics. These are other articles have appeared in The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Salon, and TIME, as well as The Appendix, The Junto, The Recipes Project, and U.S. Studies Online.
I have also taken part in a wide range of events as part of my commitment to the public humanities. In December of 2015, I organized a workshop for the University of Florida’s Center for Humanities and the Public Sphere entitled “Writing for the Public: How to Do It and Why It’s Important.” More recently, I participated in the Items: Is Fashion Modern? abecedarium at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The abecedarium was part of the preliminary research for an exhibition of the same name that will open in 2017. Lastly, I have spoken to about the history of men’s fashion with Backstory, as well as public radio audiences in New Hampshire, Australia, and elsewhere.
In addition to my work as a public humanist, I have also worked as a digital humanist. My most important work in this area has revolved around Milton Lytle Diaries Project, which spotlights the personal writings of an early Penn State University student who later fought in the Union army during the American Civil War. As the project’s manager, I am currently developing a new website to host the diary and its transcription, as well as a variety of supplementary materials. Hosted by the Richards Civil War Era Center at the Pennsylvania State University, the website for the Lytle Diaries Project will go live later this year.
Finally, I continue to work as a scholarly historian and traditional member of the historical profession. In this role, I have held fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the American Antiquarian Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Filson Historical Society, and the Hill Memorial Library at Louisiana State University. I have also written for The Business History Review, The Civil War Book Review, The Civil War Monitor, Early American Studies, The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, The Gale College Researcher, and The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.
Originally from Trenton, New Jersey, I attended the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. After graduating with a B.A. in history and religion (2007), I worked briefly as an IT consultant for a best-practices consultancy in Arlington, Virginia. Subsequently, I moved to State College, PA, where I received an M.A. in history (2011) and a Ph.D. in history and Women’s Studies (2015) from the Pennsylvania State University.