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Sally McMurry

Sally McMurry

Professor of American History

219 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. PhD, Cornell University, 1984
  2. BA, Queen's University, 1976


I am a cultural and social historian of nineteenth-century America, with a special interest in the history of agriculture, landscape, architecture, and gender as they develop in rural contexts. My research has examined the evolution of domestic architecture in the rural North; the social transformation of dairying in the nineteenth century; and rural life and landscape in a western Pennsylvania community. In 2012 I completed a decade long stint as principal investigator for a large-scale collaborative project, 'The Pennsylvania Agricultural History Project,' which has created a resource that can be used by preservation professionals to evaluate Pennsylvania's historic farm buildings and landscapes. Partners include the PSU Department of Landscape Architecture, the state Bureau for Historic Preservation, and the state Department of Transportation. The end product has a Web dimension, as well as a 'Multiple Property Documentation Form' for formal use in the evaluation process for the National Register of Historic Places. Twenty-seven graduate and undergraduate students were funded through this $600,000+ project between 2003 and 2012. In retirement I expect to work with organizations focused on historic preservation and land preservation.

Recent Publications:

Pennsylvania Farming, a History in Landscapes. Under contract to the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Architecture and Landscape of the Pennsylvania Germans, 1720-1920.  Co-Edited with Nancy van Dolsen.  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

“The Pennsylvania Barn as a Collective Resource,” Buildings and Landscapes 16:1 (Spring 2009): 9-29.

    Awards and Service:

    Theodore Saloutos Prize, best book in U. S. agricultural/rural history (1995)
    Award of Merit, American Association for State and Local History (1995)
    Rhodes Postdoctoral Fellowship, St. Hilda's College, Oxford, England (1988-1990)
    Penn State Research Initiation Grant (1985)

    Recent Courses:

    HIST012 - History of Pennsylvania
    HIST020 - American Civilization to 1877
    HIST117 - Women in Modern History
    HIST543 - Topics in Antebellum America

    Research Interests:

    US Agricultural history, vernacular architecture and landscape, 19th century US cultural history