President Catherine Allgor

Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/about/Catherine-Allgor_headshot_0065.jpgCatherine Allgor is the president of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Previously, she had been the Nadine and Robert Skotheim Director of Education at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA, and a former Professor of History and UC Presidential Chair at the University of California, Riverside.

Allgor attended Mount Holyoke College as a Frances Perkins Scholar and received her Ph.D. with distinction from Yale University, where she also won the Yale Teaching Award.  Her dissertation received a prize as the best dissertation in American History at Yale and The Lerner-Scott Prize for the Best Dissertation in U.S. Women's History. She began her teaching career at Simmons College and has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a Visiting Professor of History at Harvard University.

Her first book, Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government (University Press of Virginia, 2000), won the James H. Broussard First Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic and the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association Annual Book Award.  Her political biography, A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation (Henry Holt, 2006), was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize.  In 2012, she published Dolley Madison: The Problem of National Unity (Westview Press) and The Queen of America: Mary Cutts's Life of Dolley Madison (University of Virginia Press). 

President Obama has appointed Allgor to a presidential commission, The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation.  Allgor also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Women’s History Museum, the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians, and is a member of the Gilder Lehrman Scholarly Advisory Board.

Upcoming Events

Online Event

The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

17May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School ...

19May 6:00PM 2021
This is an online program

In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality ...

Online Event

Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism

26May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

When we talk about patriotism in America, we tend to mean one form: the version captured in shared celebrations like the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. But ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

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