Rachel Donaldson

Assistant Professor

Address: Maybank Hall 212
Office Hours: M 3:30-5:00, W 3:15-3:45 and by appointment.
Phone: 843.953.6445
E-mail: donaldsonrc@cofc.edu

Dr. Donaldson received her PhD in United States history at Vanderbilt University in 2011. Her first book, “I Hear America Singing”: Folk Music and National Identity (Temple Press, 2014) uses the folk music revival to explore the long history of multiculturalism in the United States and illustrate the ideological connections between the “Old” Left and the “New” Left movements. Her second monograph, Roots of the Revival: American and British Folk Music in the 1950s (Illinois, 2014), co-authored with Ronald D. Cohen, explores the transatlantic rise of popular interest in folk music during the decade prior to the folk boom of the 1960s and the debates surrounding issues of musical authenticity and leftwing politics.

In 2015, Dr. Donaldson received her Masters of Historic Preservation from the University of Maryland. She has worked for the National Historic Landmarks Program of the National Park Service, during which time she revised and contributed new material to the Labor History Theme Study. Her current work focuses on adapting a place-based approach to labor history. She is also currently engaged in a national collaborative public history project. Her work explores the relationship between public folklore and public history during the mid-20th century.


MHP, University of Maryland College Park, 2015

PhD, Vanderbilt University, 2011

MA, Vanderbilt University, 2006

BA, Fordham University, 2004

Research Interests

Public History/Historic Preservation

Twentieth Century U.S. History

Social and Political Movements

Labor History

Courses Taught

Introduction to American Studies

United States History Since 1865

United States History 1877-1945

History of the American People from 1865

Honors and Awards

Ten Best Books by Local Authors for “I Hear America Singing,” Baltimore City Paper

Leon Helguera Fellowship, Vanderbilt University Department of History, 2010-2011

Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship, 2008-2009

Social Science and History Rockefeller Award, 2006


"I Hear America Singing": Folk Music and National Identity,  Temple University Press (2014) 

Roots of the Revival: Folk Music in the United States and Great Britain in the 1950s, Co-authored with Ronald D. Cohen, University of Illinois Press (2014)

“Teaching Democracy: Folkways Records and Cold War Education,” History of Education Quarterly (February 2015)

“From Sun Up to Sun Down: Agricultural Labor in the United States,” The Labor History Theme Study, National Historic Landmarks Program (2015)

“Diversity on the Radio: Alan Lomax and Multiculturalism,” The Journal of Popular Culture (February 2013)

Encyclopedia of the Culture Wars (2008) Contributions: “Pete Seeger” and “Studs Terkel”

Digital Projects

Labor Heritage in Southeast Baltimore,” Baltimore Heritageb  http://explore.baltimoreheritage.org/tour-builder/tours/show/id/18#.VEuiMot4rGS

“The Almanac Singers” The Ultimate History Project  http://www.ultimatehistoryproject.com/the-almanac-singers.html