Susan Spellman

Susan Spellman

Chair and Associate Professor of History

Rentschler Hall 247
View my blog


  • Ph.D. 2009, Carnegie Mellon University
  • MA, Miami University
  • BA, Kent State University

Teaching and Research Interests

  • 19th and 20th C. U.S. social and cultural
  • History of Capitalism
  • Consumerism
  • History of technology

Courses Recently Taught

  • HST 111 Survey of U.S History
  • HST 112 Survey of U.S. History
  • HST 206 Introduction to Historical Inquiry
  • HST 279 U.S. Consumerism, 1890-Present
  • HST 290 American Business History

Selected Publications

  • Cornering the Market: Independent Grocers and Innovation in American Small Business, Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • "Trust Brokers: Traveling Grocery Salesmen and Confidence in Nineteenth-Century Trade," Enterprise & Society, June 2012.
  • "All the Comforts of Home: The Domestication of the Service Station Industry, 1920-1940," Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 37, no. 3, 2004
  • Associate Editor (with Allan Winkler), Encyclopedia of American History, Postwar 1946-1968, Vol. 9, under the general editorship of Gary B. Nash, Facts on File, Inc., 2003

Selected Grants and Awards

  • J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship, American Historical Association and the Library of Congress, 2012
  • Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellowship, National Museum of American History, 2007
  • Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Traveling Fellowship in Business History, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, 2006
  • Russel B. Nye Award for Best Article published in Journal of Popular Culture, 2005

Works in Progress

Dr. Spellman's work intersects the history of capitalism, in addition to social, cultural, consumer, and technology history.  Her book, Cornering the Market: Independent Grocers and Innovation in American Small Business, 1860-1940 (Oxford University Press), considers the ways in which small grocers--often portrayed as holdovers from a nostalgic past--were key agents of a "modernizing" impulse in American capitalism from the Civil War era to the New Deal.  She has begun work on a second book project, Go-Getters! Ambition and the American Business Traveler, from the Steamboat to the Frequent Flyer.