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Laura J. Ping

Historian, Writer, Professor



I am a historian of the nineteenth-century United States, with a specialization in women and gender.  I am particularly interested in the ways in which appearance was linked to power.


I am an Assistant Professor of U.S. History at Bellarmine University.


I am also the lead scholar of summer program "Martha Washington and the Women of the 18th Century" held at Mount Vernon annually as part of the The George Washington Teacher Institute Summer Residential Program.


My research examines the connections between fashion and politics, particularly in the ways in which the social power of dress shaped gender, class, and racial identities. I am also interested in material and visual culture as evidence for understanding evolving American culture. My book manuscript Beyond Bloomers: Fashioning Change in Nineteenth-Century Dress explores case studies of women who protested unequal gender roles by abandoning fashionable dresses in favor of loose clothing, specifically trousers and modified underwear (popularly known as dress reform).  This book demonstrates that dress reform was more widely accepted when it was adopted for function rather than as a symbol of women’s rights. In striving to achieve gender equality through dress reform, however, this movement excluded minority women for whom fashion was power.


I am also the co-author of Catharine Beecher:  The Complexity of Gender in Nineteenth-Century America, a biography of education reformer Catharine Beecher, which will be published by Routledge in 2023. My article "A Tale of Two Bloomer Costumes: What Mary Stickney's and Meriva Carpenter's Bloomers Reveal about Nineteenth Dress Reform" was published in Dress, the journal of the Costume Society of America, in 2021 and my article entitled “ He May Sneer at the Course We are Pursuing to Gain Justice': Lydia Sayer Hasbrouck, The Sibyl and Corresponding about Women's Suffragewas published in the Summer/Fall 2017 issue of New York History Journal.


    The Graduate Center, CUNY

    New York, NY


    Minor: Women's History


    The Graduate Center, CUNY

    New York, NY


    Minor: Women's History


    Virginia Commonwealth University

    Richmond, VA


    Focus: The Civil War


    The University of Iowa

    Iowa City, IA



    2018 Writing in the Disciplines, CUNY

    2005 Native American and Indigenous Studies, University of Iowa


    Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY
                                     Assistant Professor


    • Making American Identity: Gender, Race and Sexuality in U.S. History.

    • U.S. History, 1492-1877. 

    George Washington Teacher Institute 
                                  Mount Vernon, VA
                                                 Lead Scholar

    • Martha Washington and the Women of the 18th Century

    Gettysburg College-Gilder Lehrman
    MA in American History
    (Formerly with Pace University)
    New York, NY


    Adjunct Assistant Professor

    • Thesis/Capstone Course (Lead Scholar)

    • The Fight for Women's Rights

    • Black Women's History

    • Women and the American Revolution

    • The History of American Protest

    • Social Change in the Civil War Era

    • The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass

    Queens College, City University of New York
    New York, NY


    Adjunct Assistant Professor

    •  The Making of American Identity: Race, Gender and Sexuality in U.S. History (writing intensive)

    •  Fashion and Politics in U.S. History (writing intensive and honors courses)

    • Women in American History, 1600-1880

    • Women in American History, 1800-Present (Cross-listed MA)

    • Writing And History (writing intensive)

    • Fashion, Gender, and Society in U.S. History, 1776-Present

    • US History: Reconstruction Through the Present, 1865-Present

    • US History: Jamestown Through the Civil War, 1607-1865


    Meriva Carpenter dress reform garment

    (possibly an example of the American Costume)

    Cortland County Historical Society, Homer, New York

    Mary Stickney Bloomer Costume
    San Diego History Center, San Diego, California

    MS Bloomer Front 87.64.1 .jpg
    MS Bloomer back 87.64.1 .jpg




    Cindy R. Lobel and Laura J. Ping. Catharine Beecher: The Paradoxes of Gender in the Nineteenth Century, Lives of American Women Biography Series, Carol Berkin, ed. Philadelphia: Routledge (forthcoming 2023).


    Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

    2021 ““A Tale of Two Bloomer Costumes: What Mary Stickley and Meriva Carpenter’s Bloomers Reveal About Nineteenth-Century Dress Reform.” Dress (July 2021): 139-153.

    2017 “‘He May Sneer at the Course We are Pursuing to Gain Justice': Lydia Sayer Hasbrouck, The Sibyl and Corresponding about Women's Suffrage,” New York History Journal 98, no. 3-4 (Summer/Fall 2017), 317-328.


    In Preparation

    Beyond Bloomers: Fashioning Change in the Long Nineteenth-Century Book Mss


    “Foes, Flags, and Jeff Davis Bonnets: Women’s Use of Textiles as Tools of War in Winchester, Virginia During the American Civil War, 1861-1865.”


    “Nineteenth-Century Moral and Social Reform Through Women’s Clothing: Annie Jenness-Miller and ‘Correct Dress.’”


    Blog Posts

    2022 " The Curious Case of Elizabeth Smith Miller and the Jenness-Miller Magazine Letterhead," The New York Public Library Blog (September 23).

    2021 “Insurrections Old and New: Teaching Perspective on the Events of January 6, 2021,” Muster: How the Past Informs the Present, the Journal of the Civil War Era (March 9).

    2017 “Clothes as Historical Sources: What Bloomers Reveal About the Women Who Wore Them,” AHA Today: A Blog of the American Historical Association (February 13).


    Research on Dress Reform

    Microsoft ExCel - Advanced

    Power Point - Advanced

    Microsoft Word - Advanced

    Material Culture

    Visual Culture

    Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines


    Thanks for submitting!

    Laura J. Ping

    Historians, Writer, Professor



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