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  • Susan Strasser, Richards Professor Emerita of American History in the History Department at the University of Delaware

    Richards Professor Emerita of American History
    University of Delaware
    Newark, DE 19716


    ​Susan Strasser, a historian of American consumer culture, has been praised by the New Yorker for “retrieving what history discards: the taken-for-granted minutiae of everyday life.” Her books include Never Done: A History of American Housework(1982), which won the Sierra Prize of the Western Association of Women Historians; Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market(1989); and Waste and Want:  A Social History of Trash(1999), winner of the Abel Wolman Award from the Public Works Historical Society.  She studied at Reed College and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and has taught at The Evergreen State College, Princeton University, George Washington University, and the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture.  Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim foundations, the German Historical Institute, the Harvard Business School, the American Council of Learned Societies, Radcliffe College’s Bunting Institute, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Cultures of Consumption Programme, Birkbeck College, University of London. In 2011, she taught as a senior Fulbright scholar at the JFK Institute for North American Studies, Free University of Berlin.  She is currently working on A White Historian Reads Black History, a series of talks for community and religious groups, and, a website about medicinal plants in American history. See for information about both.



    • Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash (1999)
    • Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market (1989)
    • Never Done: A History of American Housework (1982)

    Edited Volumes

    • Sound in the Era of Mechanical Reproduction. Editor, with David Suisman. Hagley Perspectives on Business and Culture, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009
    • Commodifying Everything: Relationships of the Market. Editor. Hagley Perspectives on Business and Culture, Routledge, 2003.
    • Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society , rev. ed., v. II. Worth Publishers, 2000. With Nelson Lichtenstein and Roy Rosenzweig
    • Getting and Spending: American and European Consumer Societies in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press, 1998. Editor, with Charles McGovern and Matthias Judt
    • Social Justice Feminists in the United States and Germany: A Dialogue in Documents, 1885 - 1933. Cornell Univ. Press, 1998. Editor, with Kathryn Kish Sklar and Anja Schü
    • Washington: Images of a State’s Heritage. Spokane: Melior, for the Washington Centennial Commission, 1988. With Carlos Schwantes, David Nicandri, and Katherine Morrissey.

    Articles and Book Chapters

    • “What’s in Your Microwave Oven,” Opinion page, New York Times, April 15, 2017
    • “Snake Oil Revisited: Household Medicine and the Condescension of Posterity,” Process: A Blog for American History, March 21, 2017
    • "Ida B. Wells: Southern Horrors (1892), oder Von der Notwendigkeit eines starken Magens,” in Olaf Stieglitz and Jürgen Martschuket,” Race and Sex: Eine Geschichte der Neuzeit (Neofelis Verlag, 2016).
    • “Woolworth to Wal-Mart: Mass Merchandising and the Changing Culture of Consumption, in Nelson Lichtenstein," Wal-Mart: The Face of 21st C. Capitalism (New Press, 2005), reprinted in Deborah C. Andrews, Shopping: Material Culture Perspectives(University of Delaware Press, 2014).
    • “Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit,” in R. Solinger, ed., Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit exhibition catalog, Bennington Museum and others, 2008
    • “Sponsorship and Snake Oil: Medicine Shows and Public Culture,” in Marguerite S. Shaffer, ed., Public Culture: Diversity, Democracy, and Community in the United States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).
    • “Commodifying Lydia Pinkham: The Woman, The Company, The Medicine,” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Clinical Review, July/August 2007
    • “Comments on Lichtenstein, ‘Supply Chains, Workers’ Chains,’” Labor: Studies in Working - Class History of the Americas, vol. 4, Spring, 2007.
    • “Toward a History of Trashmaking,” in R. D’Arienzo and C. Younès, Recycler L’Urbain: Pour une Écolo-gie des Milieux Habités(Métis Presses, 2014)
    • “Complications and Complexities: Reflections on Twentieth-Century European Recycling,” Contemporary European History, 22, 3 (2013).
    • “A Historical Herbal: Household Medicine and Herbal Commerce in a Developing Consumer Society,” in U. Spiekerman & H. Berghoff, Decoding Modern Consumer Societies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)





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University of Delaware
  • Department of History
  • 46 W. Delaware Avenue
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-2371