I am among the world’s leading experts on Quakers in America, and the author of several books, including an anthology of Quaker writings published by Penguin in 2011. I curate the College’s extensive Quaker collection and teach variety of courses in American and British history.
When you’re an historian of Quakerism, Earlham is one of the three or four best places in the world to be. I am fortunate to have a position that allows me to teach American history, make use of our world-class collection of Quaker materials, and to help maintain and build that collection.
For better or worse, very little in my life is unconnected with my life as an historian and scholar of Quakerism. I am an avid genealogist — in fact that’s how I met my wife. I enjoy visiting historic cemeteries and collecting interesting epitaphs. I am also an unrepentant bibliophile — it’s a disappointing trip that doesn’t include a bookstore.
- Ph.D., Indiana University
- M.A., Indiana University
- B.A., Butler University
- American Historical Association
- American Society of Church History
- Midwest Archives Conference
- Organization of American Historians
- Quaker Studies Research Association
- Society of American Archivists
- Society of Historians of the Early Republic
- Society of Indiana Archivists
In 1990, I set out to write a history of Earlham that would be published in conjunction with the college’s sesquicentennial in 1997. I did much of the research in Ford/Knight projects with students in 1990, 1991, and 1993. We studied the evolution of Earlham’s Quaker identity; Earlham in the McCarthy Era; and Earlham in the 1960s. We made extensive use of the documents and publications in the college archives as well as conducting dozens of interviews with faculty and students with connections to Earlham going back to the 1910s. When the history was published in 1997, the 14 students who worked with me were listed on the title page as contributors.
I define myself broadly as an historian of religion in America. My particular specialty is Quakerism.
Books and Book Chapters
The Transformation of American Quakerism: Orthodox Friends, 1800-1907 (Indiana University Press, 1988)
God’s Government Begun: The Society for Universal Inquiry and Reform, 1842-1846 (Indiana University Press, 1995)
Earlham College: A History, 1847-1997 (Indiana University Press, 1997)
The Quakers in America (Columbia University Press, 2003)
Quaker Writings: An Anthology, 1650-1920 (Penguin Classics, 2011)
“The Middle Colonies, 1680-1730,” in Cambridge History of Religions in America (Cambridge University Press, 2012)
“Hicksite, Orthodox, and Evangelical Quakerism, 1805-1887,” in Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies (Oxford University Press, 2013)