Neil Harris

Preston & Sterling Morton Professor Emeritus of History and Art History
PhD 1965 Harvard University

The University of Chicago
Department of History
1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Field Specialties

United States; history of modern culture; history of technology, communications, architecture, and the arts of design


My interests center on the evolution of American cultural life, high, popular, and mass, and more particularly on the formation and sustenance of its supporting institutions. I have special concerns with the history of museums and libraries, the social history of art and design, the development of world fairs, the character of art collecting, the nature of metropolitan life, the design of consumption and shopping experiences, and the relationship between people and the built landscape. Current work includes a study of J. Carter Brown and the National Gallery of Art, and an examination of American newspaper buildings.


Chicago Apartments. A Century of Lakefront Luxury (2004)

"The Park in the Museum: The Making of an Icon," Seurat and the Making of La Grande Jatte (2004)

"Art and the American Club: Chicago's Union League Club as Patron," Union League Club of Chicago Art Collection (2003)

"Acres of Diamonds. Toledo and the Pursuit of Reputation," Toledo Designs for a Modern America (2002)

"The Rise of the World Series" and "Communicating Baseball," Baseball As America (2002)

"The Life of the Party," Erika Doss, ed., Looking at Life Magazine (2001)

"Reluctant Alliance: American Art, American Religion," Alberta Arthurs, ed., Crossroads. Art and Religion in American Life (2001)

"Art and the Public Purse: The American Historical Experience," Proceedings of the Texas Philosophical Society (2000)

"The View From The City," Maureen Hart Newman, ed., Norman Rockwell. Pictures for the American People (1999)

Building Lives. Constructing Rites and Passages (Yale University Press, 1999)

"The Divided House of the American Art Museum," Daedalus (1999)

"Making Sense of America," Stephan Koja, ed., America. The New World in 19th Century American Painting (1999)

"Local Hero: J. C. M. Hanson and the Politics of Library Classification," Susan Ware, ed., Forgotten Heroes (1998)

"American Poster Collecting: A Fitful History," American Art (1998)

"Midwestern Medievalism: Three Chicago Collectors," Cultural Leadership in America (1997)