Ph.D. May 1995 Columbia University
M.Phil. May 1991 Columbia University
M.A., History May 1989 Columbia University
B.A., History May 1986 Holy Cross College
2001 – present: Associate Professor of History (tenured), Holy Cross College (Worcester, MA)
1995-2001: Associate Professor of History (tenured), Hunter College, CUNY (New York, NY)
Edward T. O'Donnell, Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age America (Columbia University Press, 2015).
Jennifer Keene, Saul Cornell, and Edward T. O’Donnell, Visions of America: A History of the United States(New York: Pearson, 1st ed. 2009, 2nd ed. 2012).
Edward T. O’Donnell, Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum (Random House/Broadway Books, May 2003)
Edward T. O’Donnell, 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History(Random House/Broadway Books, 2002)
Articles and Chapters
“Striking Scenes: Robert Koehler, The Strike (1886), and Competing Visions of Labor-Capital Conflict in the Gilded Age,” Common-Place, October 2010. Common-place is an online scholarly journal published jointly by the American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, MA) and the University of Connecticut. Click to Read
“Soggarth Aroon: The Rise and Fall of Rev. Edward McGlynn,” in Terry Golway, ed., Catholics in New York: Society, Culture, and Politics, 1808-1946 (Fordham University Press, 2008): 147-161. Click to Read
"Hibernians Versus Hebrews?: A New Look at the 1902 Jacob Joseph Funeral Riot," Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era vol. 6, no. 2 (April 2007): 209-225. Click to Read
“How Easily We Forget: The General Slocum Disaster,” New-York Journal of American History 65:3 (Spring 2004): 98-113.
“Pictures vs. Words?: Public History, Tolerance, and the Challenge of Jacob Riis,” The Public Historian 26:3 (Summer 2004): 7-26.
Click to Read
"The Ethnic Crucible: New York's Lower East Side and How It Got That Way," Journal of Urban History (2005) 32: 138-146.
"How the Irish Became Urban: The Irish Experience in Large American Cities," Journal of Urban History 25 (January 1998): 271-286. Click to Read
“The Irish and Machine Politics in New York City,” Michael Glazier, ed., Encyclopedia of the Irish in America (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000): 887-89.
"'The Scattered Debris of the Irish Nation': The Famine Irish and New York City, 1845-1855" in Margaret Crawford, ed., The Hungry Stream: Emigration from Ireland during the Great Famine (Institute of Irish Studies Press, 1997): 49-60. Click to Read
"United Front: The Irish and the American Labor Movement," in Terry Golway, The Irish in America (New York: Hyperion Press, 1997): 153-58.
"'Though Not An Irishman': Henry George and the American Irish," American Journal of Economics and Sociology 56 (October 1997): 407-419. Click to Read
"Built Like A Bonfire: The General Slocum Disaster, June 15, 1904," In Kenneth T. Jackson and David S. Dunbar, eds., Empire City: New York Through the Centuries (Columbia University Press, 2002):
2000-2009 “Hibernian Chronicle,” a weekly column on Irish American history for the Irish Echo, the nation’s most widely circulated Irish newspaper (ca. 150,000).
May 7, 2006: “Bring Us Your Tired, Your Poor. Or Don't,” New York Times. [article on the anti-immigrant movement in New York City] Click to Read
September 4, 2005: "The Sage of Tammany Hall," New York Times. [article on the 100th anniversary of the publication of Plunkitt of Tammany Hall]
July 31, 2005: "The Dawn of New York's Ice Age," New York Times. [history of the ice industry in 19th c. NYC] Click to Read
June 6, 2004: "A Neighborhood of Their Own," New York Times. [history of Philip Payton and the making of Black Harlem]
Click to Read
August 30, 2003: "Brother Can You Spare a Day?," New York Times. [history of the Labor Day holiday and commentary on its enduring significance] Click to Read
June 8, 2003: "The Fire, and the Forgetting," New York Times. [history of the General Slocum fire of 1904 and commentary concerning historical memory] Click to Read
November 25, 2010: “Merry Christmas? No, Happy Holidays,” New York Daily News. [commentary on the overlooked virtues of the expression "Happy Holidays"] Click to Read
December 25, 2009: “Defending ‘Happy Holidays’ ,” Worcester Telegram & Gazette. [commentary on the overlooked virtues of the expression "Happy Holidays"]
September 14, 2001: "Catastrophe at Towers Different from Pearl Harbor," carried by Knight-Ridder News Svc. and appearing in newspapers nationwide, including the Worcester (MA) Telegram & Gazette. [commentary concerning the place of Sept. 11 in historical context] Click to Read
March 15, 2001: "St. Patrick's Day Events Honor Us All with Red, White and Blue," carried by Knight-Ridder News Service and appearing in 26 newspapers nationwide. [commentary concerning the role of the St. Patrick's Day parade in promoting tolerance] Click to Read
August 12, 1999: "A New Mask for Old Hatreds," New York Daily News. [commentary concerning anti-immigrant billboards in Queens] Click to Read
RECENT INVITED LECTURES
May 12, 2014: Keynote Speaker, “Seeing History: Reflections on a Decade of Work in Teaching American History,” at the Celebrating Teaching American History Grants in New York City Public Schools conference at the New York Historical Society.
July 10, 2013: Speaker, “The Know Nothings, Irish Immigration, and Anglo-Saxonism” at the conference, Americans All? Imagining Citizenship, Past and Present organized by The John F. Kennedy Library and the University of Massachusetts Boston. Attendees were 40 public school teachers and graduate students in history.
March 13, 2013: Keynote speaker, “Turning Points: Defining and Understanding Key Moments in History,” at the National History Day commemoration in New York City at the Museum of the City of New York, organized by NYC Department of Education.
April 14, 2011: Keynote speaker at “Picturing America, Picturing New York,” a conference organized by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the NYC Department of Education, at the Museum of Natural History, New York, NY.
April 30, 2010: Keynote speaker at “Coming to America: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Immigration,” a conference organized by the Maine Humanities Council, at the University of Southern Maine.
October 2, 2009: Idaho Council for History Education Conference; Keynote address: “Making Sense of the Gilded Age”
January 7, 2009: Teaching American History national conference. Keynote address before the project directors for all the TAH grant programs in the U.S. "The Gilded Age: Making Sense of the Industrial Revolution, Big Business, Labor Activism, Mass Immigration, and the ‘New Woman’” (TAH is a national program overseen by the Dept of Education and designed to improve the teaching of history and social studies in American public schools).
November 2, 2007: Notre Dame University Cushwa Center: “‘Irish Blood, Brain, and Brawn’: The Campaign to Highlight the Irish Contribution to American History, 1880-1920.”
PROFESSIONAL PAPERS PRESENTED
“What’s Gone Right? What’s Gone Wrong? Multiple Perspectives on the Successes and Failures of Teaching American History Grants,” at the 2011 American Historical Association (January 8, 2011, Boston, MA). Speaker and Roundtable Participant.
“Seeing Diversity, Seeing Hate: Using Images to Teach Immigration and Nativism,” at the National Council for History Education (March 27, 2010, San Diego, CA)
“Using Images to Reinvent the American History Survey Course,” at the 2010 American Historical Association (January 2010, San Diego, CA).
“Visualizing Labor-Capital Conflict in the Gilded Age,” at the 2008 Organization of American Historians Convention (March 2008, New York, NY).
“‘Irish Blood, Brain, and Brawn’: The Campaign to Highlight the Irish Contribution to American History, 1880-1920,” at the New England Historical Association annual conference (Oct. 20, 2007, Worcester, MA).
“‘Radically and Essentially the Same’: Irish Nationalism and American Labor Radicalism in Gilded Age New York City” at the 2004 Organization of American Historians Convention (March 27, 2004, Boston, MA).
"Pictures vs. Words?: Public History, Tolerance, and the Problem of Jacob Riis" to be presented at the 2003 National Council on Public History Conference (April, 2003, Houston, TX).
"Hibernians Versus Hebrews?: A New Look at the 1902 Jacob Joseph Funeral Riot" at the 2002 Organization of American Historians Convention.
“From ‘Dangerous Classes’ to ‘Inspiring Masses’: Changing Representations of the Lower East Side,” at the 1999 American Historical Association Convention.
"'The Ruin of the Republic Is Close at Hand': The Anti-Tobacco Crusade in New York City, 1880-1920," at the 1999 Organization of American Historians Convention.
"'The Talisman of Lost Hope": Henry George and the Formation of a Working-Class Political Economy" at the International Conference on Henry George in Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of His Death at Cooper Union, New York City, November 1, 1997.
"'Mere Tools of the Shylock Corporations': The Response of Workers to Anti-Labor Police Violence and Municipal Corruption in Gilded Age New York" at the 1996 Organization of American Historians Convention.
"'The Glories of Our Ancestors' Civilization Are Unrivalled': Contemporary Afrocentrism and Turn-of-the-Century Hibernocentrism in Comparative Perspective" at the 1995 American Studies Association Annual Meeting.
2015 Historian, and On-Camera Presenter
“Myths about Christmas” | Discovery Channel
first aired December 2015
2010 Historian, and On-Camera Presenter.
“The Real Story of Christmas” | History Channel
first aired December 2010; airs annually since
2009 Historian, and On-Camera Presenter.
“Pearl Harbor: Mystery Sub” | NOVA/PBS
first aired December 2009 Click to View
2001-03 Historian, Consultant, and On-Camera Presenter.
"Fearful Visitation: The Burning of the General Slocum"
aired, PBS, June 2004 Click to View Trailer
2001-03 Historian, Consultant, and On-Camera Presenter.
"Ship Ablaze: The General Slocum Disaster"
NFL Films; aired on the History Channel June 16, 2004 Click to View
2000 Historian, On-Camera Presenter.
“On the Inside: Times Square on New Year’s Eve”
Discovery Channel, aired on April 27, 2000
1999 On-Camera Presenter.
Historical Documentary, Mountain View Productions
“The Natural Corridor: New York’s Transportation History”
PBS, fall-winter 1999-2000.
1995-97 Historical Consultant (for Part III)
"The Long Journey Home: The Irish in America"
The Lennon Documentary Group
PBS, January 1998
2004-2011 Historical Consultant
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Permanent Exhibition: Minding the Store (formerly Schneider’s Saloon)
2009-2010 Historical Consultant
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Historic Lower East Side Walking Tour
2008-2009 Historical Consultant Lower East Side Tenement Museum
The Backyard Privy Exhibition
2002-2008 Historical Consultant
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Permanent Exhibition: Irish Family Apartment
(opened, June 2008)
2004 Curatorial Consultant
Brooklyn Historical Society
Exhibition: 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall: Brewing in Brooklyn
(May 13, 2004-August 22, 2004)
2003-4 Curatorial Consultant and Writer
New-York Historical Society
Exhibition: German New York and the General Slocum Disaster
(June 15, 2004-August 22, 2004)
2000-01 Curatorial Consultant and Writer
Madison Square Garden (with Whirlwind & Co.)
Great Moments in Garden History
2000-01 Historical Consultant
Irish Hunger Memorial Project, Battery Park City
Public memorial commemorating the Irish Famine
1999 Curatorial Consultant and Writer.
New York City Police Museum
1998 Curatorial Consultant and Writer.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Centennial Windows Exhibition of Lower East Side History
1995-96 Project Historian, Museum of the City of New York
Exhibition: Gaelic Gotham: The Irish and New York
Other Public History Initiatives
2014 Historical consultant to The Daily Show (Comedy Central) for a segment on the xenophobic response to a multiethnic, multilingual Coke ad during the Super Bowl (February 6, 2014) Click to View
2013 Scholarly advisor to the New York City Department of Education initiative to
build a smartphone app with resources on the history of immigration in New York City. Released on iTunes October 2014
* This app won a 2015 Webby Award
2012 Historical consultant to The Daily Show (Comedy Central) for a segment on anti-immigrant sentiment (November 15, 2012) Click to View
2008-2009 NEH Podcast Grant – researched and wrote (in ollaboration with two other historians) an educational walking tour of the historical Five Points district on New York City. The tour will is now available as a podcast for use by high school and college students.
2007-pres Scholarly advisor to Radio Diaries, an independent non-profit organization that produces radio documentaries for National Public Radio. www.radiodiaries.org
2007 NBC Universal: history commentator for segments on their www.icue.com history education website.
2001 Academic Advisor/Editor, The New York Times, 36 Days: The Complete Chronicle of the 2000 Presidential Election Crisis (New York, Holt: 2001)
1999-2001 Member of Executive Board, Alliance for New York City History.
1998-2000 Member, Seneca Village Archaeology Project Advisory Committee: formed to bring about an archaeological excavation of the former Seneca Village located in present-day Central Park.
1991-96 Co-Founder and Co-Director, Big Onion Walking Tours
N. Y. City's largest walking tour company; conducts tours on urban, ethnic and architectural history.
1995-98 Academic Advisory Group, New-York Historical Society: a panel of thirty scholars assembled to advise the institution on matters pertaining to its collections and future exhibitions.
1991-92 Project Editor, Encyclopedia of New York, Yale University Press (1995).
1997-98 Historians Committee for "New York 100," the centennial of the consolidation of New York City.
TEACHING AMERICAN HISTORY
[TAH is a national program overseen by the Dept of Education and designed to improve the teaching of history and social studies in American public schools]. Click for more about Teacher Professional Development programs
January 7, 2009: Teaching American History national conference. Keynote address before the project directors for all the TAH grant programs in the U.S. "The Gilded Age: Making Sense of the Industrial Revolution, Big Business, Labor Activism, Mass Immigration, and the ‘New Woman’”
2002-present: Lead Historian, Workshop Leader and Lecturer formore than 50 Teaching American History grant programs in 26 states, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Washington, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Wyoming. Led workshops and seminars and delivered multimedia lectures on American history topics designed to help teachers devise new and innovative methods for using primary sources, especially visual documents, in their classrooms.
Dr. Edward T. O’Donnell, Ph.D. is a professional historian, author, and speaker. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA and his Ph.D. in American History from Columbia University. He is an Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA.
O’Donnell is the author of several books, including: Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age America (Columbia University Press, 2015); Visions of America: A History of the United States (co-author, Pearson, 2nd ed. 2012); Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum (Random House/Broadway Books, May 2003); and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History (Random House/Broadway Books, 2002).
O’Donnell is also a professional speaker, delivering history-themed presentations before thousands of educational and business and non-profit organizations since 1991. During his years in New York City, O’Donnell also led more than 1,200 walking tours through New York City’s ethnic neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Little Italy, and Harlem.
O’Donnell has provided historical insight and commentary for programs airing on PBS, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, C-Span, ABC World News Now, National Public Radio, the BBC, and Bloomberg Radio, among others. O’Donnell is also active in the field of public history. He has curated several major museum exhibits on American history and appeared in several historical documentaries.
He also has created video lecture courses on American history for the Teaching Company, including "Turning Points in American History" (48 lectures) and "America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era" (24 lectures).His Teaching Company Courses
O'Donnell also writes a blog www.InThePastLane.com on all things American History.