History Major

Libby Bischof, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History and Department Chair


200 G Bailey Hall, Gorham campus

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 780-5219

“I believe in the importance of undergraduate students doing the work of historians both in and outside of the classroom—working with primary sources in Special Collections and the Osher Map Library, putting together exhibits, participating in USM’s annual student research symposium—Thinking Matters, gaining internship experience at local museums and historical societies, and going on fieldtrips and site visits to local landmarks, trails, and monuments.”

- Libby Bischof, Assistant Professor of History

Academic Degrees
Ph.D., Boston College, 2005
M.A., Boston College, 2001
B.A., Boston College, 1999

Libby Bischof explores American society through the lens of history––and the lens of a camera. A nineteenth-century American cultural historian, Professor Bischof specializes in the history of photography, particularly in Maine. Recently she co-curated the exhibition Maine Moderns: Art in Sequinland, 1900-1940 at the Portland Museum of Art with Senior Curator Susan Danly. The show won the critic’s choice award for best Historic Show in the 2011 New England Art Awards. Her other research interests include modernism, how friendship informs cultural production, and nineteenth-century New England women writers.

Prof. Bischof teaches a variety of introductory and upper-level courses in the History major, including History of Maine, Photographing American History, American Popular Culture, and a variety of Senior Seminars—the most recent being Winslow Homer’s America (Fall 2012).  Prof. Bischof also works with history majors and minors who wish to do internships.  Recent internship sites include: The Portland Museum of Art, The South Portland Historical Society and Museum, the Maine Historical Society, the Brick Store Museum, the Maine Women Writers Collection, and USM’s Special Collections.

Prof. Bischof received fellowship support for her research and publications from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Research Center for American Modernism, the Beinecke Library at Yale University, the Center for Creative Photography, the Peter E. Palmquist Foundation for Historical Photographic Research and the Maine Women Writers Collection.  She is currently working on a variety of projects, including an article about the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Maine photographer Chansonetta Stanley Emmons, a book chapter on regional tropes in personal films and home movies from Maine and New England in the 1920s and 1930s, and a new monograph on modernism and friendship in twentieth century America.

In addition to her teaching and research interests, Professor Bischof is the Advising Coordinator for the History major, and the throws coach for the USM Men’s and Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track teams (2008-present).   She enjoys working with local K-12 teachers and students and frequently collaborates with the Maine Humanities Council.  She is an avid reader, photographer, and letter writer and loves exploring Maine.  She resides in Gorham with her husband Steve and her son Gus.

Research Interests

Nineteenth century social and cultural history, particularly the history of Maine and the history of photography; fellowship and collaboration among late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century artists and writers; turn-of-the-century American women writers

Recent Publications

(With Susan Danly) Maine Moderns: Art in Seguinland, 1900-1940 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011). Companion book to the June 4-September 11, 2011 exhibition I co-curated at the Portland Museum of Art.

Peer-Reviewed Articles/Chapters in Scholarly Books:
"A Summer in England: The Women’s Rest Tour Association of Boston and the Encouragement of Independent Transatlantic Travel for Women,“ Chapter 9 in Beth L. Lueck, Brigitte Bailey and Lucinda Damon-Bach, eds., Transatlantic Women: Nineteenth Century American Women Writers in Great Britain and Europe (Durham, NH: University Press New England, July 2012).

With James F. O’Gorman (emeritus, Wellesley College), "An Aesthete’s Lair: The Architecture of the F. Holland Day House, Norwood, Massachusetts.“ Nineteenth Century (The Journal of the Victorian Society in America), Vol. 32, no. 1 (Spring 2012), 2-7.

“Testudo: A Forgotten New England Artists‘ Retreat,“ Nineteenth Century (The Journal of the Victorian Society in America), Vol. 30, no.2 (December 2010), 20-29.

“I am a Catholic just as I am a dweller on the Planet:“ John Boyle O’Reilly, Louise Imogen Guiney and a Model of Exceptionalist Catholic Literature in Boston,“ in Thomas O’Connor, ed. Two Centuries of Faith. Crossroads Press, May 2009, 112-144.

Reviews and Shorter Articles:
Ethan Anthony, The Architecture of Ralph Adams Cram and His Office. In Winterthur Portfolio, Volume 44, No.4, Winter 2010, 395-396.

Patricia Bowden Corey, Owascoag, Place of Much Grass: The Settlement of Black Poynt, Mayne in the Settlers Own Words, 1605-1800. In: Maine History, Vol. 46, October 2011, 112-114.

“Women Mentoring Women: Literary Friendships in turn-of-the-century Boston,“ Special New England Women’s Club insert in the Spring 2008 newsletter of the Bostonian Society, Old State House, Boston,1-4.

Olaf Hoerschelmann, Rules of the Game: Quiz Shows and American Culture. In: Journal of Popular Culture, August 2007, 728-729.