Catherine Allgor, an assistant professor at the University of California at Riverside, is interested in issues involving politics, women, gender, and the many ways people can be political. Using analytic techniques of gender studies, material culture, and social history, her first book examined elite white women’s use of social events and society in the formation of the early federal government and establishment of the national capital.
Allgor will expand on these themes during her fellowship year in her new project, a political biography of Dolley Payne Todd Madison. She hopes an examination of this master politician will bring the new field of women's history and gender squarely into the realm of popular political history. By insisting on the political implications of the personal, The Last of the Founders: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation will introduce categories of analysis not usually considered “political” in the standard biographies of presidents and generals.
After a career in theater, Allgor attended Mount Holyoke College as a Frances Perkins scholar. She received her PhD from Yale University, where she won the Yale Teaching Award. Her dissertation on women and politics in early Washington garnered prizes for the best dissertation in American history at Yale and for the best dissertation in US women’s history in the country. The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic awarded its prize for best first book to Allgor’s Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government (University Press of Virginia: 2000).