Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education

Libby Bischof Ph.D.

Executive Director

Office Location

Osher Map Library, 113 Glickman Family Library, Portland, ME



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.  She is the co-author of the 2015 book Maine Photography: A History, 1840-2015.  In 2011, 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 Maine history, 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.  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 Osher Map Library, the Brick Store Museum, the Maine Women Writers Collection, and USM’s Special Collections.

Prof. Bischof has 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 recently curated an exhibit about the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Maine photographer Chansonetta Stanley Emmons at the University of New England.  She has also recently published articles in The History Teacher and The Maine Policy Review.

In addition to her teaching and research interests, Professor Bischof 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 is also a postcard nerd--follow her postcard adventures on Instagram: @themainepostcardproject.  She resides in Gorham with her husband Steve and her son Gus and daughter Katie.

Areas of Scholarship

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; modernism; turn-of-the-century American women writers

Professional Activity


(With Susan Danly and Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.) Maine Photography: A History, 1840-2015 (DownEast Books and the Maine Historical Society, 2015)

(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:

“Who Supports the Humanities in Maine? The Benefits (and Challenges) of Volunteerism,” The Maine Policy Review: Special Issue on the Humanities and Policy, Vol. 24, no. 1, Winter/Spring, 2015.

"The Lens of the Local: Teaching an Appreciation of the Past through the Exploration of Local Sites, Landmarks, and Hidden Histories," in The History Teacher, vol. 48, no. 3, May 2015. http://www.societyforhistoryeducation.org/pdfs/M15_Bischof.pdf

“A Region Apart: Representations of Maine and Northern New England in Personal Film, 1920-1940,” in Martha McNamara and Karan Sheldon, eds., Poets of Their Own Acts: The Aesthetics of Home Movies and Amateur Film (Forthcoming, Indiana University Press).

"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.