SUNY New Paltz professor earns award for "Unexceptional Women"
NEW PALTZ – Susan Ingalls Lewis, associate professor, department of history at the State University of New York at New Paltz was the recipient of the prestigious Hagley Prize for her outstanding scholarly work, “Unexceptional Women: Female Proprietors in Mid-Nineteenth Century Albany, New York, 1830-1885,” published by Ohio State University Press in 2009. The prize was awarded at the annual Business History Conference on April 2, in St. Louis, Missouri.
In “Unexceptional Women,” Lewis expunges the commonly perceived stereotype of the 19th century working woman solely as wife, caretaker, factory worker or progressive labor reformer. Lewis’s scrupulous research of city directories and R.G. credit reports belie conventional assumptions about women in business. She shows how 2,000 “unexceptional” women entrepreneurs and the family economy, the most basic and most obscure aspect of the pre-industrial community economy, participated in, defined and drove the robust commerce of Albany, New York, a major commercial center in the 19th century.
“One of the great strengths of ‘Unexceptional Women’ is Lewis’s success in taking a mountain of seemingly dry, prosaic data and using it to bring to life people whose lives left only modest marks in more traditional sources. This type of historical writing is perhaps easy to conceive, but to succeed on the scale achieved by ‘Unexceptional Women’ is truly exceptional,” a committee representative said.
Lewis began teaching at New Paltz in the fall of 1998 while attending graduate school at Binghamton. She was appointed to the faculty at New Paltz in 2001 and received her Ph.D. from Binghamton in 2002.
Lewis was named Teacher of the Year in Liberal Arts & Sciences for 2007-2008. Currently, she is a Vice President of the Century House Historical Society in Rosendale and a board member of Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz.
"I was delighted to learn that Professor Susan Lewis's latest book was awarded the Hagley Prize for 2011. This is a great honor for her and for New Paltz. Dr. Lewis exemplifies our ideal of a highly successful teacher-scholar," Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, James Schiffer said.
Hagley Museum and Library collects, preserves and interprets the unfolding history of American enterprise. Hagley’s collections document the interaction between business and the cultural, social and political dimensions of our society from the late 18th century to the present.
The Business History Conference is a not-for-profit organization devoted to encouraging all aspects of research, writing and teaching of business history and the environment in which business operates.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.