Season 2 Historians

Ann Braude

Ann Braude is Senior Lecturer on American Religious History at Harvard Divinity School, where she directs the Women’s Studies in Religion Program, an international postdoctoral research program. A leading historian of American religious history she has written and published widely on women in American religious life, exploring everything from spiritualism to Judaism, Christian Science, and Native American religions.

In 2005 she inaugurated Harvard Divinity School’s year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the admission of women. In 2018, she was awarded Peter J. Gomes STB ’68 Memorial Honors at Harvard Divinity School for her contributions to the school’s bicentennial. She edited Transforming the Faiths of Our Fathers: The Women Who Changed American Religion, the result of a historic conference that brought 25 pioneers of religious feminism together at HDS. Her books also include Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-century America (Beacon Press, 1989) and Sisters and Saints: Women and American Religion (Oxford University Press, 2007), a history of the religion of American women for a general audience.

John B. Buescher

Historian John B. Buescher is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of nineteenth-century American Spiritualism, and a co-director of the International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals (IAPSOP). At IAPSOP, he works with a volunteer team to collect and digitize primary sources on spiritualism and related subjects to create an accessible online archive of documents for scholars and researchers. After earning his doctorate in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia, he served as the chief of the Tibetan Broadcast Service for Voice of America. From 2008 to 2012, he was Senior Researcher at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

His books include The President’s Medium: John Conklin, Abraham Lincoln, and the Emancipation Proclamation (Couper Press 2019), The Remarkable Life of John Murray Spear: Agitator for the Spirit Land (University of Notre Dame Press, 2006), and The Other Side of Salvation: Spiritualism in the Nineteenth-Century Religious Experience (Skinner House Books, 2004).

Molly McGarry

Molly McGarry is an associate professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. UCR and teaches courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. cultural history, gender and sexuality, public history, and museum studies. She is author of Ghosts of Futures Past: Spiritualism and the Cultural Politics of Nineteenth-Century America (2008); co-author with Fred Wasserman of Becoming Visible: An Illustrated History of Lesbian and Gay Life in Twentieth-Century America (1999). Her most recent work analyzes the relationships between religion, sexuality, and the politics of secularism.

As a public historian, she has curated exhibitions at the New York Public Library, The Jewish Museum, and UCR’s California Museum of Photography. Her exhibits have received curatorial awards from the American Association of Museums, the American Society for State and Local History, the International Association of Art Critics, and the Society of American Archivists. She has held fellowships from the Smithsonian/National Museum of American History, a Pew Postdoctoral Fellowship in Religion and Media, and the University of California President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities.

Cathy Gutierrez

Cathy Gutierrez is widely respected as an authority on the history of spiritualism and the occult and was Professor of Religion at Sweet Briar College for eighteen years. From 2015 to 2017 she was Scholar in Residence at the New York Public Library, where she researched the history of spiritualism and the sciences of crime. In addition to writing on spiritualism, she has published on the Free Love movement in America, Theosophy, millennialism, and the Freemasons. 

Her book, Plato’s Ghost: Spiritualism in the American Renaissance (Oxford University Press 2009), examines the American legacy of Neoplatonism in popular religious expression. Her writing appears in The Cambridge Handbook of Western Mysticism and Esotericism (2016) and The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and Around the World (2013). She has edited several collections including The Occult in Nineteenth-Century America (The Davies Group 2006) and the Brill Handbook of Spiritualism and Channeling (2015), and is the co-editor of the series Contexts and Consequences: New Studies in Religion and History.

Nancy Rubin Stuart

Nancy Rubin Stuart is an award-winning author and journalist whose compelling and deeply researched biographies render dramatic lives during pivotal moments in history. Nancy also serves as the Executive Director of the Cape Cod Writers Center in Osterville, Massachusetts, and is co-president of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

Among her honors are a 2005 William Randolph Hearst Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society, a 2009 Historic 1699 Winslow House Award and in 2010 a USA Book News “Best Book” finalist award. She was also a MacDowell Fellow and received a scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. As a journalist, Nancy has contributed to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New England Quarterly, American History, Huffington Post and many other national publications.

Margaret Washington

Margaret Washington is professor of history and American Studies at Cornell University. Her work on African American cultural, intellectual, and religious history has earned her awards and fellowships from Cornell University, the Wesleyan University Center for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dedicated to public history, Dr. Washington is a frequent lecturer and panel participant at high schools, summer institutes, museums, the park service and local libraries.

Her book on Sojourner Truth, Sojourner Truth’s America (University of Illinois Press, 2009), won the inaugural Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians. Her first book, A Peculiar People: Slave Religion and Community-culture among the Gullahs won the Sierra Prize. She has served on panels for the New York State Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was on the board of advisors for the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. As an advisor and consultant, she was contributed to numerous documentaries for PBS, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel.

Emily Clark

Emily Clark researches and teaches on the intersection of religion and race in the Americas. As Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University, where she is also the Director of Undergraduate Programs, Dr. Clark focuses her work on African American religions, American Catholic history, Native American religions, religious material culture, colonialism, and haunting.

Her first book, A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), won the 2017 Francis B. Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association and the Michael V.R. Thomason Book Award from the Gulf South Historical Association. Her current project, tentatively titled Spiritual Matters: American Spiritualism and Material Culture, is under advance contract with the University of North Carolina Press. She is also the co-editor of Race and New Religious Movements in the USA: A Documentary Reader (Bloomsbury, 2019) and co-editor of Digital Humanities and Material Religion: An Introduction (De Gruyter, under contract, with Rachel Lindsey). She also serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Southern Religion.

Mary Gabriel

Mary Gabriel is an author and journalist whose books have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. For nearly two decades she worked in Washington and London as an editor for Reuters.

Her books often explore the lives of women who were written out of history, despite their major influence on its twists and turns. Her books include Notorious Victoria: The Uncensored Life of Victoria Woodhull (Algonquin Books 1998), The Art of Acquiring: A Portrait of Etta and Claribel Cone (Bancroft Press 1999), and Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution (2011). Her most recent book, Nine Street Women (Little Brown 2018) has been widely celebrated for its vibrant portrait of five women painters in 1940s and 50s New York, and is currently in development for television.