Sharon Holt, Ph.D.

Shannon Holt
Associate Teaching Professor
Coordinator of Public History Program, History
Office Phone
Office Location
Sutherland, 405
Penn State Abington
119S Sutherland Building
Abington, PA 19001

    See our Public History webpage.

    Recent Articles

    "Are we doing ourselves wrong: the prices women, and the world, pay for our silent leadership." United States Study Centry, University of Sydney, Australia. 2015.

    “The Past as a place: Challenging the private ownership of history in the United States,” in Joep Leerssen and Marita Mathijsen, eds. Free Access to the Past, (Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill publishers, 2010)

     “History keeps Bethlehem Steel from going off the rails:  Moving a complex community process toward success,” The Public Historian, Spring 2006

    “Questioning the answers:  serving modern citizens at Independence Park” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 129:4, Oct 2005, 473-482

    “Race in the Park: Interpreting slavery and liberty at Independence Park in Philadelphia,” Common-Place, vol. 3, no. 4, July 2003,

    Documentary Films

    Great American Railroad Journeys, BBC

    The Gettysburg Address, Rising Picture Company, Hampton, NH, 2014. (

    Philadelphia: the Great Experiment, History Making Productions, Philadelphia, PA , 2008-present, episodes 1-5, 7 Emmys won (


    Teaching Interests and Courses Taught

    History 21 American Civilization since 1877

    History 112 Introduction to Public History

    History 153 History of Native (North) America

    History 404 Advanced Public History Practice

    History 459 Technology and Culture in America since 1783

    Awards, Grants, Other Honors

    Research Fellowship, United States Studies Center, Sydney, Australia, 2015

    Board member, Glen Foerd Mansion on the Delaware, 2017

    President’s Award for community service, Greater Olney Civic Association, 2010

    Greene-Ramsdell Award (1996) from the Southern Historical Association

    Archie K. Davis Fellowship from the North Caroliniana Society, 1988-89

    Summer Research Grant in Women’s Studies, the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, Princeton, NJ , 1988

    Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 1987

    Research Interests

    My current writing interest is promoting good financial management in historical nonprofits, and encouraging them to see their historical mission as essential to the nurture and preservation of democracy. I pursue these goals through public speaking, consulting, teaching, and publications.

    My dissertation studied the household economies of former slaves in North Carolina, with a particular interest in how the work of women, children, and elders particularly mobilized resources to build schools and churches and to buy land, laying foundations for the freedom African-Americans sought.


    Making Freedom Pay: North Carolina freedpeople working for themselves, 1865-1900, University of Georgia Press, 2000, (paperback, 2002, reprinted 2004)


    Ph D, History, University of Pennsylvania

    MA, Harvard University

    BA, History, Vassar College