Dr. Dennis Downey

Emeritus Professor of History

Dr. Dennis Downey

Contact Information



  • HIST 105: Introduction to the Craft of History
  • HIST 106: Contours of U.S. History
  • HIST 251: History of Violence in the United States
  • HIST 356: The New Era, 1876-1919
  • HIST 406: Senior Seminar
  • HIST 456: Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States
  • HIST 458: United States Social History
  • HIST 502: Readings in United States History, 1815-1919

About Me

I earned by PhD in United States History from Marquette University in 1981, where I studied with the late William D. Miller.  Since that time I have taught at Millersville University, where I am now a Professor of History and Director of the University Honors College.  My research and teaching specialties cover the history of American violence, and American social and cultural history, especially 1870-1920. I have a developing scholarly interest in the history of disabilities and social thought.  Over thirty years I have had a role in a variety of professional and community organizations, and I have received several awards and citations. I served as President of the Pennsylvania Historical Association from 2005-2007.


In addition to more than thirty scholarly articles and essays, I have published some sixty-five book reviews.  I am the author or editor of six books:

  • Dennis B. Downey and Raymond J. Hyser, No Crooked Death: Coatesville, Pennsylvania and the Lynching of Zachariah Walker (University of Illinois Press, 1991) (Outstanding Book Citation, Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights, 1992)
  • Dennis B. Downey and Francis J. Bremer, eds., A Guide to the History of Pennsylvania (Greenwood, 1993)
  • Dennis B. Downey, A Season of Renewal: The World's Columbian Exposition and Victorian America (Praeger, 2002)
  • Dennis B. Downey, We Sing To Thee: A History of Millersville University (Millersville University, 2004)
  • Dennis B. Downey, ed., Dictionary of Pennsylvania History(New Library Press, 2006)
  • Dennis B. Downey and Raymond J. Hyser, Coatesville and the Lynching of Zachariah Walker (The History Press, 2011) (revised and expanded 20th anniversary edition of No Crooked Death)

Web Histories:

*Dennis B. Downey, The Surest Foundation for Happiness: History of Education in Pennsylvania, http://explorepahistory.com/story.php?storyId=1-9-21 (2008). Includes 300 pages of text, 200 illustrations, teacher resources and ancillary materials.

*Dennis B. Downey, The Peopling of Pennsylvania: The Creation of a Multicultural Society, http://explorepahistory.com/story.php?storyId=1-9-23 (2011). Includes 250 pages of text, 150 illustrations, teacher resources and ancillary materials.

Current Projects:

"The Delaware Horror: Two Ministers, a Lynching and the Crisis of Democracy" in Michael Pfeifer, ed., Judge Lynching Beyond Dixie (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming 2012)

"A World Apart: The Story of the  Pennhurst State School and Hospital" (under contract with the Penn State University Press)

Contact Information:

Dennis B. Downey, PhD
History Department
University Honors College
Millersville University
Millersville , PA 17551


Email: Dennis.Downey@millersville.edu