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Phone: (585) 395-5691
E-Mail: bleslie@brockport.edu
Office: 320 Liberal Arts Building


  • American Social History


  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1971
  • B.A., Princeton University (cum laude), 1966

Awards and Honors

  • Program Chair, SUNY 60th Anniversary Conference, 2008-2009
  • Editorial Board, History of Education Quarterly, 2007 - 2010
  • Chair, AERA New Scholar Book Award Committee, 2003 and 2005.
  • Brockport Alumni Association, Certificate of Appreciation, 2004.
  • Visiting Scholar, University of Cambridge, 2003, 2005, & 2007-8.
  • Fulbright Senior Specialist Selection Committee, 2003 - 2008
  • Fulbright Scandinavian Selection Committee, 1999-2001.
  • Fulbright Professor, Institut for Engelsk, Aarhus Universitet, Denmark, 1996-97.
  • Reader, U.S. History Advanced Placement Exam, 1994 -->
  • Book Gentleman and Scholars: College and Community in the "Age of the University," 1865-1917, (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993) included in Fincher, et. al., 100 Classic Books on Higher Education (Phi Delta Kappan).
  • Editorial Board, History of Higher Education Annual, 1991 -->
  • Editorial Board, ASHE History of Higher Education Readers, 1989 & 1997.

Courses Taught

  • Modern America
  • The United States and the World
  • Education in American History
  • America from its Centennial to Pearl Harbor: "From Custer to Casablanca


  • Books
    • State University of New York at Brockport, Arcadia Publishing, 2007.
      [with Mary Jo Gigliotti and Kenneth P. O’Brien]
    • Gentlemen and Scholars: College and Community in the "Age of the University," 1865-1917. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993; Second Edition, New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 2005
  • Articles
    • “The Liberal Pan-Protestant Moment and the Emergence of the University,” Perspectives in the History of Higher Education (forthcoming)
    • “Four Colleges and their Communities”, in Roy Lowe (ed.), The History of Higher Education (Routledge, 2008)
    • “From Donnish Dominion to Economic Engine: Explaining the Later 20th Century Revolution in English Higher Education”, History of Higher Education Annual 23 (2003)[with John Halsey]
    • "Two Scottish Dominies Logs," History of Education Researcher [England] 72 (Nov., 2003), 74-83 (with Stuart Hood).
    • "Britain's White Paper Turns Higher Education Away From the EU," International Higher Education 32 (Summer, 2003), 10-12 (with Professor Halsey).
    • "A College Upon a Hill: Exceptionalism & American Higher Education," in Dale Carter (Ed.), Marks of Distinction: American Exceptionalism Revisited, Vol. 32 of The Dolphin (Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 2001), 197-228 (with John Halsey).
    • "Where Have All the Academies Gone?" History of Education Quarterly, 41 (sum., 2001), 264-271.
    • “German-Americans: A Case Study of Cultural Assimilation,” in Magdalena Zaborowska (Ed.) Other Americans, Others Americas: The Politics and Poetics of Multiculturalism, Vol. 28 of The Dolphin (Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 1998), 62-79.
    • “1960ernes USA,” [in Danish] Passage 26 (1997), 9 - 23.
    • “Richie, not Fonzie: The Real ‘Happy Days,’” Anglofiles 102 (June, 1997), 7-13.
    • "When Professors had Servants: Prestige, Pay, and Professionalization, 1860-1917," History of Higher Education Annual 10 (1990), 19-30.
    • “The Family, History, & the Classroom,” Journal of Family History 11 1986)
    • "Creating a Socialist Scout Movement: The Woodcraft Folk, 1942-42," History of Education [England], 13 (1984), 299-311.
    • "`Time, the Subtle Thief of Youth': Historians and Youth," Youth and Policy, 11 (Winter, 1984-5), 49-51.
    • "Coming of Age in Urban America: The Socialist Alternative, 1901-1920," Teachers College Record,85 (Spring, 1984), 459-476.
    • "From Tumult to Benign Neglect: The Strange Career of the History of American Higher Education in the 1970's," Review of Higher Education, III (Spring, 1980), 3-7.
    • "The Historiography of a Stage of Life: Youth in Western Society," Foundational Studies, XIII (1979), 47-58.
    • "Between Piety and Expertise: Professionalization of College Faculty in the 'Age of the University', Pennsylvania History, XLVI (July, 1979), 245-265.
    • “American University as Gatekeeper,” History of Education Quarterly 18 (Fall, 1978).
    • "Localism, Denominationalism & Institutional Strategies in Urbanizing America: Three Pennsylvania Colleges, 1870-1915," History of Education Quarterly, 17 (Fall 1977), 235-56.
    • "The Re-emergence of the American College: A Multiple-Case Study, 1870 - 1920," Liberal Education, LXII (December 1976), 507-526.
    • "The Response of Four Colleges to the Rise of Intercollegiate Athletics, 1865-1915," Journal of Sport History, 3 (Winter, 1976), 213-222.
    • "The Lost World of McGuffey's Readers: School and Society in the United States, 1860-1920," Contemporary Education, XLVII (Spring 1976), 135-140.
    • "James McCosh in Scotland," Princeton University Library Chronicle, XXXVI (Autumn, 1974), 47-60.

Conferences and Presentations

  • “Rescuing the State Teachers College from History’s Scrapheap,” (with Prof. O’Brien), Researching New York, November, 2009.
  • “Almost the Oldest Profession: Academic from Socrates to Silicon Valley,” Brockport 26th Annual RA Conference, November, 2009.
  • “Birth, Boom, & Bust: SUNY from 1940 to 1980,” Assn of SUNY Councils & Trustees, October, 2009.
  • “American Universities, Professional Schools, and Liberal Education,” Beyond the Lecture Hall Conference, Univ. of Cambridge, Sept., 2009.
  • "'Two Systems Separated by a Common Language': The Dilemmas of Cultural Exchange in Anglo-American Higher Education, 1890-2005," History of Education Society Annual Meeting, Baltimore, October, 2005.
  • "An American looks at the White Paper," University of Cambridge, June 2003.
  • "When the Past is Not Another Country: Perils of Histotical Research in Your Own backyard (i.e., University)" American Studies Center, Aarhus Univ., Denmark, April 2003.
  • "Repressed Deutschum or Successful Assimilation? The Fate of German America, 1871-1942," British Assn. of American Studies Annual Conference, Swansea, Wales, May, 2000.
  • "This Side of Paradise": Class, College, & a Case of American Exceptionalism," Danish American Studies Consortium Research Seminar: March 17, 2000.
  • College, Culture, & Class: Creating an American Upper Middle Class, 1865-1929," University of Newcastle History Department Seminar, February 14, 2000.
  • "The Death of the Academy" at the History of Education Society Annual Meeting, Atlanta, October, 1999.
  • Organized and participated in "Toward Writing the History of Post-WWII Colleges and Universities," at the History of Education Society Annual Meeting, Atlanta, October 1999.
  • Organized and chaired "Teaching American Studies Abroad," American Studies Center, University of Toronto, April, 1999.

Current Projects

  • Editing SUNY Press Book commemorating SUNY’s 60th anniversary.
  • Preparing paper on SUNY Brockport c.1945-65 as a case study of the State Teachers College.
  • Preparing paper on the influence of English models on Woodrow Wilson for “The Educational Legacy of Woodrow Wilson” Princeton University, October, 2009.
  • Conducting oral history projects at SUNY Brockport & Princeton University.
  • Co-authoring with Prof. Halsey a socio-historical comparison of British and American higher education.

Last Updated 1/11/18

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