Pennsylvania Historical Association

Brief Biographies of the Presidents




A. Boyd Hamilton, 1933-36. 

Arthur Boyd Hamilton (1876-1945) was a journalist and public servant who served as secretary to Governor John S. Fisher and then Secretary of the Pennsylvania State Senate. In addition to being the first president of PHA, he was president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies and chairman of the State Historical Commission. At the time of his death, he was deputy director of the state’s wartime Defense Council. 


Roy F. Nichols, 1936-39.

Roy Franklin Nichols (1896-1973) completed his doctorate at Columbia in 1923 and taught there briefly before joining the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as professor of history and dean of the graduate school until his retirement in 1966. Among his many works, he was best known for The Disruption of American Democracy, a study of the causes of the Civil War, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949. Nichols served as president of the American Historical Association in 1966.


Lawrence Henry Gipson, 1939-42. 

Lawrence Henry Gipson (1880-1971) was one of the first Rhodes Scholars before earning his Ph.D. from Yale in 1918. From 1924 until his death, he was professor of history at Lehigh University. A leader of the “imperial school” of early American historians, his main work was the fifteen-volume The British Empire Before the American Revolution, individual volumes of which won the 1950 Bancroft Prize and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize.


Arthur C. Bining, 1942-1945.

Arthur C. Bining (1893-1957) was born in Wales and educated at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught from 1928 until his death. An economic historian, he was the author of The Pennsylvania Iron Industry in the Eighteenth Century (1938), The Rise of American Economic Life (1943), and, for the PHA, Pennsylvania’s Iron and Steel Industry (1954). He was also PHA’s first editor of Pennsylvania History, 1933-41.


Robert Fortenbaugh, 1945-48. 

Robert Fortenbaugh (1892-1959) was a historian and Lutheran clergyman who headed the history department at Gettysburg College from 1923 until his death. He is best known for Lincoln and Gettysburg: The Story of Lincoln’s Immortal Address at Gettysburg (1949). With James Tarman, he wrote a textbook, Pennsylvania: The Story of a Commonwealth (1940 and later editions). The Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture on a Civil War topic is held each November at Gettysburg College.


Sylvester K. Stevens, 1948-51.

Sylvester K. Stevens (1904-1974) was Pennsylvania State Historian and, from 1956 to 1972, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The author of many volumes on the Commonwealth’s history, his classic Pennsylvania: Birthplace of a Nation (1964) drew a famous court suit from the daughter of Henry Clay Frick, who charged that Stevens was too harsh on the industrialist; the court sustained Stevens’s judgment.


William A. Russ, Jr., 1951-1954. 

William A. Russ, Jr. (1903-1981) was a professor of Susquehanna University from 1933 to 1968. His most comprehensive publication was a two-volume history of the Hawaiian Revolution (1959, 1961). In 1966, his Pennsylvania’s Boundaries appeared as a volume in PHA’s Pennsylvania History Studies Series.


Philip S. Klein, 1954-57.

Philip S. Klein (1909-1993) completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and then returned to his undergraduate alma mater, Franklin and Marshall College, where he taught for a time before beginning a long and distinguished career at The Pennsylvania State University until his retirement in 1972. Among his publications are Pennsylvania Politics, 1817-1832: A Game Without Rules (1940), a definitive biography President James Buchanan (1962), and, with Ari Hoogenboom, the acclaimed college textbook A History of Pennsylvania (1973, 1980).  The PHA’s biannual book and article prizes are both named in his honor.


Ralph W. Cordier, 1957-1960.

Ralph W. Cordier (1902-1993) was professor of history and subsequently academic vice president and provost at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from 1946 until his retirement in 1970. With S. K. Stevens and Florence Benjamin, he was the author of the best-selling high school history text, Exploring Pennsylvania.  A recognized leader in social studies education, he was president of the National Council for the Social Studies in 1968.


James A. Barnes, 1960-63.  

James Anderson Barnes (1898-1980) taught at Temple University from 1930 to 1966, and the university’s graduate student history club is today named in his honor. An economic historian, he was the author of Wealth of the American People: A History of their Economic Life (1949) and John G. Carlisle: Financial Statesman (1931). Barnes was a pioneer in the microfilming of primary source materials and also served as president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He was the second editor of Pennsylvania History, from 1941-44.


J. Cutler Andrews, 1963-67.

J. Cutler Andrews (1908-1972) was a Harvard-educated historian who chaired the department at Chatham College. A student of journalism, he published Pittsburgh’s “Post-Gazette”: The First Newspaper West of the Alleghenies (1936), The North Reports the Civil War (1955), and The South Reports the Civil War (1970).


Edwin B. Coddington, 1966-67.

Edwin B. Coddington (1905-1967) was the longtime chair of Lafayette College’s history department and a noted Civil War historian. Coddington became ill almost immediately after his election as PHA president in October 1966, and Cutler Andrews continued to function as president until Coddington’s resignation and replacement in August 1967. Coddington died two months later in October. His most important work, The Battle of Gettysburg: A Study in Command, was published posthumously in 1968.


Homer T. Rosenberger, 1967-69.  

Homer T. Rosenberger (1908-1992) became acting president of PHA in August 1967 and was elected in October to complete Coddington’s unexpired term.  Dr. Rosenberger was educated at Albright College and Cornell University. After a brief time as a public school teacher, he found a career in educational work and administrative training for a number of government agencies, including the U.S. Office of Education, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Pennsylvania Department of Highways. He was president of the Columbia Historical Society in Washington, D.C. and the Pennsylvania German Society, and as a member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission he was one of the early advocates for creating the William Penn Museum in Harrisburg. He published on a number of topics including Pennsylvania folklore, Pennsylvania Germans, and railroad history, and for a number of years hosted the Rose Hill Seminars in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.


Robert L. Bloom, 1969-72. 

Robert L. Bloom (1911-1990) was a graduate of Shippensburg University and holder of a doctorate from Columbia. He was professor of history at Gettysburg College from 1949 to his retirement in 1981. He assisted in organizing and participated in events marking the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. He published The Philadelphia North American: A History (1952) and The British Press Covers the Civil War (1972).  A History of Adams County, Pennsylvania, 1700-1990 appeared posthumously in 1992, two years after his death.


Donald H. Kent, 1972-1975.  

Donald H. Kent (1910-1986) received his B.A. in history from Allegheny College. From 1940 until 1975, he was a staff member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, holding various positions and ending his career as Director of the Bureau of Archives and History. Among his many publications are The French Invasion of Western Pennsylvania (1954) and A History of Pennsylvania’s Purchases from the Indians (1974); he also edited, with S. K. Stevens and Autumn Leonard, The Papers of Colonel Henry Bouquet.


Russell F. Weigley, 1975-78.  

Russell F. Weigley (1930-2004) was one of the foremost military historians of his generation. A student of earlier PHA president Roy F. Nichols, he taught briefly at Penn and Drexel before moving to Temple University where he taught from 1962 to his retirement in 1999 as Distinguished University Professor of History.  Among his books are The American Way of War (1972), Eisenhower’s Lieutenants (1981), and The Great Civil War (2000).  He also edited Philadelphia: A 300-Year History (1982). He was the editor of Pennsylvania History from 1962 to 1967.


John M. Coleman, 1978-81. 

John M. Coleman (1917-1998) was a graduate of Amherst, Harvard, and Columbia and was professor of history at Lafayette College 1949 until his retirement in 1981. He was the author of Thomas McKean: Forgotten Leader of the Revolution (1975). From 1957 to 1961, he edited Pennsylvania History.


Elizabeth M. Geffen, 1981-84. 

Elizabeth M. Geffen (1913-2002) completed her doctorate under the direction earlier PHA president Roy Nichols at the University of Pennsylvania. She became professor of history and chair of the department at Lebanon Valley College. She was the author of Philadelphia Unitarianism, 1796-1861 (1961).


John B. Frantz, 1984-1986.

John B. Frantz (b. 1932) received his B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1955 and 961 respectively. After teaching briefly in the Baltimore County public schools and at Franklin and Marshall College, he was a member of the history faculty at The Pennsylvania State University from 1961 until his retirement in 1998. In addition to scholarly articles in Pennsylvania History, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography and other journals, he is the editor or co-editor of Bacon’s Rebellion: Prologue to Revolution (1969), Pennsylvania’s Religious Leaders (Pennsylvania Historical Association, 1986), and Beyond Philadelphia: The American Revolution in the Pennsylvania Hinterland (1998). In addition to his presidency, he served as PHA business secretary from 1998 to 2006 and co-chaired four local arrangements committees. In 2008, PHA elected him an honorary member.


Charles H. Glatfelter, 1986-88.

Charles H. Glatfelter (b. 1924) received his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1952. He was a member of the Gettysburg College faculty from 1949 to 1989, and the executive director of the Adams County Historical Society from 1959 to 2001. He is the author of Pastors and People: German Lutheran and Reformed Churches in the Pennsylvania Field, 1717-1793 (1980, 1981); A Salutary Influence: Gettysburg College, 1832-1985 (1987); and The Pennsylvania Germans: A Brief Account of their Influence on Pennsylvania (1990 and 2002). After his presidency, he served as PHA treasurer from 1989 through 1994. In 2006, PHA elected him an honorary member.


John F. Coleman, 1989-1990.

John F. Coleman (1932-2007) was a native of Massachusetts and graduate of Boston College who earned his Ph.D. at The Pennsylvania State University. He taught for 40 years and was chair of the history and political science department at St. Francis University, Loretto, Pennsylvania. He was the author of The Disruption of the Pennsylvania Democracy, 1848-1860 (1970).


Robert G. Crist, 1991-1992. 

Robert G. Crist (1924-1995) received his Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University. A successful business leader, he also was an instructor of history at the York and Harrisburg campuses of Penn State. For the PHA’s Pennsylvania History Studies Series, he edited or co-edited Pennsylvania Kingmakers (1985), Pennsylvania Religious Leaders (1986), Pennsylvania and the Federal Constitution (1987), and Pennsylvania and the Bill of Rights (1990). The Association’s biannual prize for the best article by a graduate student in Pennsylvania History is named in his memory.


John F. Bauman, 1993-94.

John F. Bauman (b. 1938) received his doctorate from Rutgers: The State University in 1969.  He is Professor Emeritus of History at California University of Pennsylvania and holds or has held visiting professorships at the University of Pittsburgh, the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine, and Bowdoin College.  He is the author of Public Housing, Race, and Renewal: Urban Planning in Philadelphia, 1920-1974 (1987); (with Thomas H. Coode) People, Poverty and Politics: Pennsylvanians and the Great Depression (1981);  (with Thomas H. Coode) In the Eye of the Great Depression: New Deal Reporters and the Agony of the American People (1988); (edited with Roger Biles and Kristin Szlyvian) From Tenements to the Taylor Homes: In Search of an Urban Housing Policy in Twentieth Century America (2006); (with Edward K. Muller) Before Renaissance: Planning in Pittsburgh, 1880-1943  (2006); and Gateway to Vacationland: Making Portland, Maine  (2011).


Gerald G. Eggert, 1995-96.

Gerald G. Eggert (b. 1926) returned from service in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps (1946-48) to complete his undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University in 1949. He taught in the public schools of Battle Creek, Michigan, for four years and then entered the University of Michigan where he earned his doctorate in 1960. He taught at the University of Maryland, Bowling Green University, and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty of The Pennsylvania State University in 1965; he became professor emeritus upon his retirement in 1991. He is the author of Railroad Labor Disputes: The Beginnings of Federal Strike Policy (1967), Richard Olney: Evolution of a Statesman (1974), Steelmasters and Labor Reform, 1886-1923 (1981), Harrisburg Industrializes: The Coming of Factories to an American Community (1992), and The Iron Industry in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Historical Association,1994). His article on African-Americans in nineteenth-century Harrisburg won the 1993 Philip S. Klein Pennsylvania History Prize. From 1985 to 1993, he was PHA’s business secretary.


Susan E. Klepp, 1997-98.

Susan E. Klepp (b. 1943) received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.  She was professor of history at Rider University when president of the PHA and subsequently moved to Temple University.  Books include Revolutionary Conceptions: Women, Fertility and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820 (2009) and edited versions of the life of William Moraley (with Billy G. Smith), the life of Frederick Whithead (with Farley Grubb and Anne Pfaelzer de Ortiz), and the diary of Hannah Callender Sansom (with Karin Wulf).


Leslie Patrick, 1999-2000.

Leslie Patrick received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1989. She is a member of the history faculty of Bucknell University where she specializes in African-American and nineteenth-century American social history. She is the author of “‘Numbers That Are Not New’: African-Americans in the Country’s First Prison, 1790-1835,” which appeared in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography in 1995.


Randall Miller, 2001-2002.

Randall M. Miller (b. 1945) earned his Ph.D. in history from Ohio State University in 1971, and he joined the history faculty at Saint Joseph’s University in 1972, where he currently is the William Dirk Warren `50 Sesquicentennial Chair and Professor of History. He is the former editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography and the former chair of the board of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. Among his many books, he co-edited, with William A. Pencak, Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth (2002).


Rosalind Remer, 2003-2004.

Rosalind Remer (b. 1963) received her doctorate from UCLA in 1991. She is a principal in Remer & Talbott, consultants to museums, historic sites, libraries and other non-profit institutions. She was a professor of early American history for fourteen years at Moravian College and is the author of Printers and Men of Capital: The Philadelphia Book Trade in the Early Republic (1996 and 2000) as well as articles and reviews on a range of early American topics.


Dennis B. Downey, 2005-2006.

Dennis B. Downey (b. 1952) grew up in Chicago and attended Florida State University (B.A. 1974; M.A. 1976) and Marquette University (Ph.D. 1981).  He has taught American social and intellectual history at Millersville University since 1981, with an interest in the period 1870-1920, race and violence, immigration and migration studies. He is the author/editor of five books, including No Crooked Death: Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and the Lynching of Zachariah Walker (1991); A Season of Renewal: The Columbian Exposition and Victorian America (2002); and We Sing to Thee: A History of Millersville University (2004). Downey received the Philip S. Klein Prize and a Best Book Citation from the Gustavus Meyers Center for Human Rights. He has played an active role in the development of and authored two of the major book-length stories for the website.


Charles D. Cashdollar, 2007-2008.

Charles D. Cashdollar (b. 1943) received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969. He is University Professor Emeritus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Transformation of Theology: Positivism and Protestant Thought in Britain and America, 1830-1890 (1989) and A Spiritual Home: Life in British and American Reformed Congregations, 1830-1915 (2000). Currently, he is at work on a history of Indiana University of Pennsylvania from its founding to the present.


Marion W. Roydhouse, 2009-2010.

Marion W. Roydhouse (b. 1949) is a native of New Zealand, who earned her B.A. and M.A. at the University of Canterbury and her Ph.D., from Duke University. She is professor of history and dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Philadelphia University. She is the author of Women of Industry and Reform: Shaping the History of Pennsylvania, 1865-1940 (Pennsylvania Historical Association, 2007).


Janet Moore Lindman, 2011-2012.

Janet Moore Lindman (b. 1957) grew up in suburban Minneapolis and received her B.A. at St. Olaf College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. A professor of early American and women's history at Rowan University, she is author of Bodies of Belief: Baptist Community in Early America (2008) and co-editor of 'A Centre of Wonders': The Body in Early America (2001).


Ken Wolensky, 2013-2014.

Dr. Ken Wolensky specializes in labor, industrial and public policy history. He has published 5 books and over 25 articles on these topics. From 1986 to 2011 he was employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in policy positions including in the Governor's Policy Office. He also served as a historian for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. He teaches history and political science and Lebanon Valley College and has a private archival and institutional history consulting practice.