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

Neil Harris has retired and no longer directs BA theses or accepts new graduate students.

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.


[With Teri J. Edelstein.] En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Chicago Apartments. A Century of Lakefront Luxury. New York: Acanthus Press, 2004.

"The Park in the Museum: The Making of an Icon." In Seurat and the Making of La Grande Jatte, edited by Robert L. Herbert. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

"Art and the American Club: Chicago's Union League Club as Patron." In Union League Club of Chicago Art Collection, edited by Wendy Greenhouse and Marianne Richter. Chicago, Union League Club of Chicago, 2003.

"Acres of Diamonds. Toledo and the Pursuit of Reputation." In The Alliance of Art and Industry: Toledo Designs for a Modern America, edited by Davira S. Taragin. Manchester, VT: Hudson Hills Press, 2002.

"The Rise of the World Series" and "Communicating Baseball." In Baseball As America: Seeing Ourselves through Our National Game. Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2002.

"The Life of the Party." In Looking at Life Magazine, edited by Erika Doss. Washington, DC: Smithsonian, 2001.

"Reluctant Alliance: American Art, American Religion." In Crossroads: Art and Religion in American Life, edited by Alberta Arthurs. New York: The New Press, 2001.

"The View From The City." In Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People, edited by Maureen Hart Newman. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999.

Building Lives: Constructing Rites and Passages. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.

"The Divided House of the American Art Museum." Daedalus 128 (1999).

"Making Sense of America." In America. The New World in Nineteenth-Century American Painting, edited by Stephan Koja. London: Prestel, 1999.

"Local Hero: J. C. M. Hanson and the Politics of Library Classification." In Forgotten Heroes: Inspiring American Portraits from Our Leading Historians, edited by Susan Ware. Collingdale, PA: Diane, 1998.

"American Poster Collecting: A Fitful History." American Art 12, no. 1 (1998).

"Art and the Public Purse: The American Historical Experience." Proceedings of the Texas Philosophical Society (1997).

"Midwestern Medievalism: Three Chicago Collectors." In Cultural Leadership in America: Art, Matronage, and Patronage, edited by Wanda Corn. Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1997.