Department ofHistory

Sally McMurry

Sally McMurry

Emerita Professor of American History

Curriculum Vitae:


PhD, Cornell University, 1984
BA, Queen's University, 1976
Sally McMurry Headshot



I am a cultural and social historian with a special interest in agriculture, landscape, vernacular architecture, and food systems. My previous research has examined the evolution of US agricultural landscapes in their broad cultural and environmental context. In 2012 I completed a decade long stint as principal investigator for a large-scale collaborative project, ‘The Pennsylvania Agricultural History Project,’ which has created a resource that can be used by preservation professionals to evaluate Pennsylvania’s historic farm buildings and landscapes. Twenty-seven graduate and undergraduate students were funded through this $600,000+ project between 2003 and 2012. This work was the basis for my book Pennsylvania Farming, a History in Landscapes, 2017. In retirement I continue to work with preservation organizations, and I have begun research on a new project tentatively titled “The Boston Market Garden District: the Rise, Fall, and Revival of Local Vegetable Production in the Boston Area, 1820-present.”

Recent Publications:

“The American Farm Pond.” Buildings and Landscapes 27:2 (Fall 2020): 39-59.

Pennsylvania Farming, a History in Landscapes. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.

“The Impact of Sanitation Reform on the Farm Landscape in U. S. Dairying, 1890-1950.”  Buildings and Landscapes 20:2 (Fall 2013): 22-48.

“The Pennsylvania Barn as a Collective Resource.” Buildings and Landscapes 16:1 (Spring 2009): 9-29.

Awards and Service:

Antoinette Forrester Downing Book Award, Society of Architectural Historians, for excellence in a published work devoted to historical topics in preservation, for Pennsylvania Farming: a History in Landscapes, 2020

Philip Klein prize, Pennsylvania Historical Association, best book on Pennsylvania history, for Pennsylvania Farming: a History in Landscapes, 2018

Theodore Saloutos Prize, best book in U. S. agricultural/rural history, for Transforming Rural Life, 1995