Bonnie Stepenoff

Ph.D., University of Missouri at Columbia

Her newest book, The  Dead End Kids of St. Louis: Homeless Boys and People who tried to Help Them, was published in 2010 by the University of Missouri Press. She is also the author of Big Spring Autumn (Truman State University Press, 2008).  She won the 2007 Book Award from the Missouri Conference on History for  From French Community to Missouri Town: Ste. Genevieve in the Nineteenth Century (University of Missouri Press, 2006).  Her books also include Thad Snow: A Life of Social Reform in the Missouri Bootheel (University of Missouri Press, 2003) and Their Fathers' Daughters: Silk Mill Workers in Northeastern Pennsylvania (Susquehanna University Press, 1999).

Fields Of Interest

American Labor History
Historic Preservation

Women's History

Dr. Bonnie Stepenoff, received her B.A. in history from Ohio State University and her M.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1992) from the University of Missouri.

Growing up in the Pennsylvania hills (Slatington, PA), she developed a strong sense of work from her parents. Her mother worked at the Western Electric plant (I.B.E.W.) and her father was a salesman.

As a freshman she declared a journalism major. Like so many in the field her decision to major in history was the product of a fine teacher and an interesting course -- Robert Bremner and "American History." Dr. Stepenoff was particularly interested in the history of American women and labor. Her dissertation, in fact, deals with the silk mill workers in Pennsylvania.

Though her graduate training is in "traditional" history, she has fifteen years experience working in the Historic Preservation field. From 1976-1984 she worked for the State Historical Society in Columbia and from 1984-1991 for the MO Department of Natural Resources Historic Sites Program in Jefferson City.

At SEMO, Dr. Stepenoff teaches "Techniques of Research in Local History," "Archives," "Women's History," "Oral History," and "Labor History." She was coordinator of the Historic Preservation Program from 1995-2003.

 In addition to her books, she has published numerous articles in historical journals and anthologies.  Her article, "Child Savers and St. Louis Newsboys, 1896-1948," appeared in the Missouri Historical Review April 2010.  In 2008, her essay entitled "Wild Lands and Wonders: Preserving Nature and Culture" was included in Cultural Landscapes: Balancing Nature and Heritage in Preservation Practice, edited by Richard Longstreth (University of Minnesota Press). "St. Louis and the Sharecroppers: Urban Connections to a Rural Protest," was published  in the January 2008 issue of Agricultural History. Her essay entitled "I'm a Johnny Mitchell Man: Gender and Labor Protest in the Pennsylvania Hard Coal Uprising, 1900-1902" appeared in an anthology entitled Mining Women, published by Palgrave/Macmillan (2006). Other essays were published in two recent books,  Missouri Women: In Search of Power and Influence (2004)  and The Other Missouri History (2006), both published by the University of Missouri Press. Over the years, she has published numerous articles in Labor History, Labor's Heritage, Missouri Historical Review, Pennsylvania History, Gateway Heritage, Red River Valley Historical Journal, and other journals.   She has written a chapter entitled "Family Ties and Labor Activism" for the anthology, Rebellious Families: From Household Strategies to Collective Action (International Institute of Social History, 2002).

In spring 2006, she participated in the Missouri London Program, teaching courses entitled, Women and Society in Britain and America and The Working Class in Britain and America.

In fall 2002, she participated in the National Park Service Sabbatical in the Parks Program, spending part of the semester at Van Buren, Missouri, in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Her sabbatical project was a cultural landscape report on Big Spring Historic District (published by the NPS in spring 2003).  She presented a paper, based on this experience, at the Fourth National Forum on Historic Preservation Practice at Goucher College in Maryland in March 2004. This paper will be published in a forthcoming volume entitled Nature and Culture, Continuity and Change, edited by Richard Longstreth (University of Minnesota Press).

She served for six years on the Missouri Historical Records Advisory Board. In 2003, Governor Bob Holden appointed her to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and she continues to serve on the Council.

She is married and has two daughters and a grandson.

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