Cornelia F. Hugel Professor of History
Ramer History House 201
(610) 330-5171


  • B.S. Swarthmore College
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Special interests: history of dams and water resources development; history of engineering; environmental history; business history; popular culture; United States history post-Civil War

Selected publications:

Heavy Ground: William Mulholland and the St. Francis Dam Disaster, Co-authored with Norris Hundley, forthcoming, Spring 2015 (San Marino, CA: The Huntington Library Press in association with the University of California Press)

Pastoral and Monumental: Dams, Postcards and the Amrican Landscape (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1913)

“Politics and Dam Safety: The St. Francis Dam Disaster and the Boulder Project Canyon Act” in Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Hoover Dam 75th Anniversary History Symposium, Richard Wiltshire, ed. (Reston, VA: ASCE, 2010): 1-24.

“Structural Art: John S. Eastwood and the Multiple Arch Dam” in Engineering History and Heritage Journal, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 162 (August 2009), pp. 137-146.

Colorado River Basin Water Management: Evaluating and Adjusting to Hydroclimatic Variability, Co-author/member of the Committee on the Scientific Bases of Colorado River Basin Water Management, Water Science and Technology Board, National Research Council of the National Academies (Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2007)

Big Dams of the New Deal Era: A Confluence of Engineering and Politics. Co-authored with David Billington, (Norman: Univesity of Oklahoma Press, 2006)

Editor, DAMS, Volume 4, Studies in the History of Civil Engineering (Aldershot, England: Ashgate/Variorum Press, 1998).

Building the Ultimate Dam: John S. Eastwood and the Control of Water in the West (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995).

Great American Bridges and Dams (New York: John Wiley, 1988).

Honors: Overseas Prize, 2010, Institution of Civil Engineers, for article on “Structural Art: John S. Eastwood and the Multiple Arch Dam,” Outstanding Academic Book for 1996, selected by CHOICE, the official publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, for Building the Ultimate Dam; Ray A. Billington Award in 1994 from the Western History Association for the best article on the history of the American West, for article on history of the early U.S. Reclamation Service; Lafayette College’s Van Artsdalen Prize for sholarship, 2009; Thomas and Lura Jones Lecture Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching,1996.