I grew up in Mason City, Iowa, attended the University of Iowa as an undergraduate, and received my Ph.D. in history from Stanford where I worked with Professor Carl Degler. After teaching for one year at Chico State, I came to the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 1980 and have been at Oklahoma ever since. In the spring of 1997 I was named the O’Brien Presidential Professor of History and in July, 1997 I became Chair of the Department.
My research is in the history of the American family. My most recent book is Fatherhood in America: A History (1993) and I have just finished an essay entitled, “`The Flabby American,’ the Body, and the Cold War.” Over the years, I have written on the history of divorce, women in the West, fatherhood, and the body. I am currently at work on a history of youth and sport in America since 1945 as well as an essay on American views of Communist women in the 1950s and early 1960s. I teach courses in American social history with a special emphasis on the history of gender.
I have directed theses on a variety of topics. Recently, two of my students have finished Ph.D. theses in American social history. One has written a history of post-World War II American youth culture and the other has done a study of the first class of women at West Point.
Return to the History department.