Mary Carroll Johansen


Professor of History

BA, American Studies, Georgetown University, cum laude
MA, History, College of William and Mary
PhD, History, College of William and Mary

Courses Taught

HIST 203: American History to 1820
HIST 204: American History 1820 to 1920
HIST 205: American History Since 1920
HIST 263: American Studies
HIST 304: Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy
HIST 312: American Immigration History
HIST 313: Women in America
HIST 315: History of Pennsylvania
HIST 316: American Foreign Policy
HIST 317: Revolutionary America
HIST 318: Atlantic Worlds
HIST 351: History Seminar I
HIST 402: Social Movements in History
HIST 451: History Seminar II

Teaching Focus/Philosophy

My primary goal, as an educator, is to provide my students with the education they should expect to receive at any top-ranked university. I seek to vary my approach to teaching and my assignments to accommodate the disparate learning styles of students, the different kinds and amounts of primary source materials available at different points in history, and the diverse course topics that I teach. Thanks to the wealth of primary source documents on the internet, I am able to introduce students in introductory classes to the moving words of people in the past, and to encourage students to engage in original research projects.



“Pennsylvania’s History from a Unique Perspective,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 2014 (forthcoming)
“First Person Assignments: Considering How History Affects and Is Affected by the Individual.” The History Teacher, 2014 (forthcoming).
“Reformers and Role Models: Women Educators in the Early Nineteenth Century Upper South”, Maryland Historical Magazine, Winter 2011
Assistant Editor, The Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Vol. 2 (2001); editorial contributor to The Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Vols. 2, 3 (2006), and
4 (forthcoming)
“Providing Useful Knowledge: Education for Non-Elite Women in Early Nineteenth-Century Virginia,” Virginia Cavalcade (Spring 2000)
"'Intelligence, Though Overlooked': Education for Black Women in the Upper South, 1800-1840," Maryland Historical Magazine, Winter 1999
Book Reviews in NWSA Journal, Virginia Libraries, Kentucky Historical Society Register, SAWH/h-net, H-South/h-net


Awards and Honors

Pennsylvania Humanities Council Small Grants (2007, 2008) to fund the Holy Family University-Glen Foerd Speaker Series
Spencer Dissertation Fellowship, 1995
Virginia Historical Society Mellon Research Fellowship, 1994

Additional Info

I am a co-chair of the Glen Foerd-Holy Family Speaker Series, which invites a distinguished speaker to Holy Family University each spring and fall for a lecture on a topic in American history in the period from the War of 1812 up through the early 20th century, which is the period of time interpreted by Glen Foerd on the Delaware, the historic house museum located a few blocks from campus. All lectures are free and open to the public.

My own research focuses on the education of southern women in the early republic, and women's involvement in reform organizations. I argue that, while the formal curriculum at girls' schools in the early republic held up as an ideal lady one who was timid and modest, beautiful and fascinating, innocent and submissive, the informal curriculum provided altogether different lessons. Observing widows, unmarried women, and professed nuns establish and run schools, young women understood that an independent and influential life was an option available to them. Attending evangelical revivals and religious services, girls learned of their obligation to advance piety in the world. Working with their teachers to staff Sunday schools, aid orphan asylums, and raise money for African colonization, pupils gained knowledge of their ability to shape the world in which they lived. Through these activities, southern women began to challenge the social paradigms limiting the lives of the region's women in the early republic.

Mary Carroll Johansen
Office: HFH 318
Phone: 267-341-3365