I was born and raised in New Jersey. I earned a BA in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a PhD in American History from American University in Washington DC. After a fellowship at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, my first job was at the University of Miami. I then moved to Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts and taught for 12 years while receiving tenure and promotion to full professor. I currently serve as the editor for Commonplace: the journal of early American life and teach at Ohlone College in California. My research and writing examines the intersection of social, cultural, economic, and political history in the nineteenth century.