History Department

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History Department

Faculty & Staff

Lewis, Susan

2002 Ph.D. in American History, Binghamton University

1970 B.A. Wellesley College

Associate Professor

Department: History
Office: JFT 918
Phone: (845) 257-2619
E-mail: lewiss@newpaltz.edu

Career History

Before becoming an academic, Dr. Lewis had a career in publishing, where she worked as a picture researcher for textbooks, and later as a museum director. She has taught courses at Union College, the University at Albany, Binghamton University, and Marist College. Professor Lewis has been teaching at SUNY New Paltz since 1998, full-time since 2001.

Teaching Interests

Professor Lewis teaches courses in United States History, New York State History and American Women’s History in the Department of History, the Honors Program, and the Program in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her courses include:

History (undergraduate)
U.S. History to 1865
U.S. History since 1865
U.S. Social and Cultural History II (since 1880)
The Empire State
History of New York City
The Progressive Era
Senior Seminar
History (graduate)
U.S. Social History II (since 1880)
U.S. Women 1776-1920
Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
U.S. Women to 1880
Debates in U.S. History
Metropolis to Megalopolis: New York Culture 1870-1920 (interdisciplinary, team-taught course)

Research/Creative Activity

Dr. Lewis is currently engaged in five research projects:

(1) New York Rediscovered: A New History of the Empire State
A college textbook on New York State history

See her associated blog "New York Rediscovered: Intriguing Stories from the History of New York State"

(2) Girls to the Rescue: the Impact of World War I on Girls' Series Books
A study of girls' series books during World War I, co-authored with Emily Hamilton-Honey

(3)The Mystery of Emma Waite
An edited volume based on the 1870 diary of an African American domestic servant and hotel cook working in Saratoga Springs and New York City

(4) ILY: the World War II Letters of Myra Strachner and Bernie Staller
A monograph based on more than 700 letters between two Bronx teenagers during World War II

(5) The Pioneer of her own Fortune and a Hard-Working Woman: female proprietors across the United States, 1840-1890
A comparative study of U.S. businesswomen in different locations across the U.S.

Awards, Honors & Recognition

Excellence in Scholarship Award, School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, SUNY New Paltz, 2011
Hagley Prize, best book published in business history, 2011
Cunningham Research Residency, New York State Library, 2009
Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz, 2009, 2010
Alfred D. Chandler Jr. Travel Fellowship, Harvard Business School, 2008
Liberal Arts & Sciences Teacher of the Year, SUNY New Paltz, 2007-08
Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz, 2006
Nuala McGann Drescher Affirmative Action Leave, United University Professions, 2005
Cunningham Research Residency, New York State Library, 2005
Outstanding Dissertation Award, Social Sciences, Binghamton University, 2002
Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research, Binghamton University, 1997
Kramer Research Grant, Department of History, Binghamton University, 1996
Sherry Penney Prize, the University at Albany, 1989 and 1990


Unexceptional Women: Female Proprietors in Mid-Nineteenth Century Albany, New York, 1830-1885
(Ohio State University Press, 2009)

The Power of Art, 3rd edition (Cengage, 2013), co-author with Richard Lewis, college art appreciation textbook, over 75,000 copies sold, used in over 250 colleges

Articles and Essays

“Year of the British Blondes,” co-authored with Morgan Gwenwald, New York Archives, Vol. 13, no. 2
(Fall 2013)

“Teaching New York State History,” The Hudson River Valley Review, Vol. 30, no. 1
(Autumn 2013)

“Business Widows of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Albany, New York,” Women on Their Own, ed. Rudolph
M. Bell and Virginia Yans (Rutgers University Press, 2008, reissued as paperback 2010)

“Girls to the Rescue: the Impact of World War I on Girls’ Series Books,” Dime Novel Round-Up
(August 2008)

“Business or Labor? Blurred Boundaries in the Careers of Self-Employed Needleworkers in
Mid-Nineteenth-Century Albany,” Famine and Fashion, Needlewomen in the Nineteenth
, ed. Beth Harris (Ashgate, 2005)

“Businesswomen in the Land of Opportunity: Immigrant Proprietresses in Albany, New York, 1880,”
The Other Side of Hudson Valley Life, special issue of The Hudson Valley Regional Review
(Fall 1997), reprinted in America’s First River: The History and Culture of the Hudson River Valley,
ed. Thomas S. Wermuth, James M. Johnson, and Christopher Pryslopski, (SUNY Press, 2009)
"Beyond Horatia Alger: Breaking through Gendered Assumptions about Business 'Success' in
Mid-Nineteenth-Century America" Business and Economic History, Vol. 24, no. 1 (Fall 1995)

"Female Entrepreneurs in Albany 1840-1885" Business and Economic History, Second Series,
Vol. 21 (1992)