I am the author of Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks: from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance. Since retiring as an English professor at New Jersey City University I share relevant findings from my research to illuminate our present difficult times.
I’ve written about nineteenth century media through many forms and issues — magazines, advertising, women who edited magazine. I’m always fascinated by how ordinary readers read and responded to what they read. Scrapbooks offer a hidden passage into that, and the readers turn out not to be so ordinary after all. I have worked as a journalist, printer, and editor; I have taught at the University of Paris 8, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Massachusetts; and held the Fulbright Walt Whitman Distinguished Chair in American Literature at Radboud University in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. My PhD is from the University of Pennsylvania; my MA is from the University of Massachusetts. I live in New York.