updated 1-1-14

PETER DOBKIN HALL is Professor of History and Theory in the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, City University of New York, and Senior Research Fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard University.


The Organization of American Culture, 1700-1900: Private Institutions, Elites, and the Origins of American Nationality (New York University Press, 1982)

Inventing the Nonprofit Sector: Essays on Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Nonprofit Organizations (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992)

(with George E. Marcus) Lives in Trust: The Fortunes of Dynastic Families in Late Twentieth Century America (Westview Press, 1992)

Editor (with N.J. Demerath III, Rhys H. Williams, and Terry Schmitt), Sacred Companies: Organizational Aspects of Religion and Religious Aspects of Organizations (Oxford University Press, 1998),

(with K.L.K. Hall) The Lehigh Valley: An Illustrated History (Windsor Publications,1982)


History of Philanthropy, Voluntary Associations, and Nonprofit Organizations

"Philanthropy, the Nonprofit Sector, and the Democratic Dilemma"appeared in Daedalus (April 2013).

"Philanthropy and the Social Enterprise Spectrum." In Thomas S. Lyons, Social Entrerpreneurship: How Business Can Transform Society (Praeger/ABC-Clio, 2013).

"Biography, History, and Policy - Review-Essay of David Cannadine's Mellon: An American Life (2006), David Nasaw's Andrew Carnegie (2006), and Nicholas Fox Weber's The Clarks of Cooperstown: Their Singer Sewing Machine Fortune, Their Great and Influential Arts Collections, Their Forty-Year Feud (2007)." In Nonprofit News & Comment (2009).

"A Historical Overview of Philanthropy, Voluntary Associations, and Nonprofit Organizations in the United States, 1600-2000" appears in W.W. Powell & R. Steinberg (eds.), The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook - Second Edition (Yale University Press, 2006). An earlier version of this essay appeared in W.W. Powell (ed.), The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook (Yale University Press, 1987).

(With Colin B. Burke) "Nonprofit, Voluntary, and Religious Entities," In Historical Statistics of the United States - Millennial Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

"Historical Perspectives on Nonprofit Organizations in the United States." In Robert Herman (ed.), The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Management and Leadership -- Second Edition (Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2004). An up-dated version of this chapter appears in David Renz (ed.), The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Management and Leadership -- Third Edition (2010).

"Philanthropy, the Welfare State, and the Transformation of America's Public and Private Institutions, 1945-2000." Appeared originally as Hauser Center Working Paper #5 (2000). Published In Lawrence Friedman & Mark McGarvie (eds.), Charity, Philanthropy, and Civility in American History (Cambridge University Press, 2002). This expanded 2006 version, was presented at the German Historical Institute's 2006 conference, Philanthropy in History: German and American Perspectives. It was published as "Philanthropie, Wohlfahrtsstat und die Tranformation der Offenlichen Insitutionen in den USA, 1945-2000." In Thomas Adam, Simon Lassig, & Gabriele Lingelbach (eds.). Stifter, Spender und Mazene: USA und Deutschland im historischen Vergleich. Franz Steiner Verlag, 2009).

"The Work of Many Hands: A Response to Stanley N. Katz on the Origins of the 'Serious' Study of Philanthropy." Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly 28(4)(December 1999).

(with George E. Marcus) "Why Should Men Leave Great Fortunes to Their Children: Class, Dynasty, and Inheritance in America" In Robert K. Miller and Stephen J. Williams, (eds.), Wealth and Inheritance in America (Plenum, 1998).

"'The dealings of my trade were but a drop in the comprehensive ocean of my business:' Business Giving and Social Investment in the United States, 1790-1995," New York Law School Law Review XLI (3-4) (1997), 789-824.

"No One Best Way: Management Careers and Curriculum in an Era of Institutional Crisis," The Philanthropy Monthly (May-June 1996).

"Architecture, Landscape, and Civic Space." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 22:2 (Summer, 1993), 167-183. Review-essay of Howard Colvin's Architecture and the Afterlife (1992), David Charles Sloane's The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History (1992), and Michael Sorkin (ed.) Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space (1992).

"Teaching and Research on Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Nonprofit Organizations: A Case Study of Academic Innovation." Teachers College Record 93:3 (Spring 1992), 403-435.

Governance and Accountability

This study of the use of evaluation research by foundations exists in two versions: a long unpubished draft titled "A solution is a product in search of a problem": A History of Foundations and Evaluation Research" and a shorter version, , "A Historical Perspective on Evaluation in Foundations," which can be found in Marc Braverman, Norman A. Constantine, & Jana Slater (eds.)., Philanthropy and Evaluation: Contexts and Practices for Effective Philanthropy (Wiley, 2005).

"Rediscovering the Bourgeoisie: Higher Education and Governing Class Formation in the United States, 1870-1914" In Sven Beckert & Julia Rosenbaum (eds.), Distinction and Identity: Bourgeoise Culture in the Nineteenth Century United States (Palgrave-MacMillan, in press).

"Law, Politics, and Charities in the Post-Liberal Era," in Paul Pribbenow (ed.)., Serving the Public Trust: Insights into Fundraising Research and Practice (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2000).

"Resolving the Dilemmas of Democratic Governance: The Accountability of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations in America, 1800-1998." In Ellen Condliffe Lagemann (ed.), Philanthropic Foundations: New Scholarship, New Possibilities (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1999).

History of Nonprofit Boards in the United States was published by the National Center for Nonprofit Boards (now Boardsource) in 1997.

"Noah Porter writ large:" Reflections on the Modernization of American Education and Its Critics, 1866-1916," in Roger L. Geiger (ed.), The American College in the Nineteenth Century. (Vanderbilt University Press). An earlier version of this essay appeared in History of Higher Education Annual 17 (1997).

"Conflicting Managerial Cultures in a Museum," in Miriam M. Wood, ed., Nonprofit Boards and Leadership: Cases on Governance, Change, and Board-Staff Dynamics (Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995).

"Conflicting Managerial Cultures on Nonprofit Boards," Nonprofit Management and Leadership 1:2 (Winter 1990) 153-166.


Religion and Civic Leadership

"The Decline, Transformation, and Revival of the Christian Right in the United States." In Stephen Brint & Jean Schroedel (eds), The Christian Conservative Movement and American Democracy. (Russell Sage Foundation, 2009).

"Religion, Philanthropy, Service and Civic Engagement in Twentieth Century America" this paper carries the exploration of the formative power of religious belief into a contemporary study of religious affiliation, giving, and
volunteering. Prepared for a Campbell Institute/Syracuse University's symposium in April 2004, it appeared in an volume edited by Arthur C. Brooks, Gifts of Time and Money: The Role of Charity in America's Communities (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).

"The Civic Engagement Tradition" appears in Mary Jo Bane, Brent Coffin, and Richard Higgins (eds.), Taking Faith Seriously (Harvard University Press, 2005).

"Moving Targets: Evangelicalism and the Transformation of American Economic Life, 1870-1920," which appears in Larry Eskridge & Mark A. Noll (eds.), More Money, More Ministry: Money and Evangelicals in Recent
North American History
(Eerdmans, 2000).

"Historical Perspectives on Religion, Government, and Social Welfare in America" (2001) and "Religion and the Post-Welfare State: The Untold Story" (1998)

Civil Privatism: Public Culture and Civil Society in New Haven, Connecticut

"Setting, Landscape, Architecture, and the Creation of Civic Space in the United States, 1790-1920." An earlier version of this essay appears in Ram Cnaan & Carl Milofsky (eds.), Handbook of Community Movements and
Local Organizations
(Springer, 2007).

"A Question of Empowerment: Information Technology and Civic Engagement in New Haven, Connecticut" appears in Michael Cortes & Kevin Rafter (eds.), Nonprofits and Technology: Emerging Research for Usable Knowledge (Lyceum, 2007).

The final revision of "The Privatization of Public Decisionmaking: Land Use, the Utilities Infrastructure, and Economic Development in New Haven, Connecticut, 1880-1930" is still in draft form. Earlier versions of this paper
appeared as "Organization as Artifact: Technical Innovation and Management Reform at the New Haven Water Company, 1893-1920," in Joan Scott, (ed.), The Mythmaking Frame of Mind: Social Imagination and American Culture (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Press, 1993). An earlier version of this paper appeared as "Images of Innovation: The New Haven Water Company, 1894-1906," in the Journal of the New Haven Colony
Historical Society 35:1 (Fall 1988).

"Is Tax Exemption Intrinsic or Contingent? The Tax Treatment of Voluntary Associations, Nonprofit Organizations, and Religious Bodies in New Haven, Connecticut, 1750-2000" appears in Evelyn Brody (ed.), Property-Tax Exemption for Charities: Mapping the Battlefield (Urban Institute, 2002).

"Vital Signs: Organizational Population Trends and Civic Engagement in New Haven, Connecticut, 1850-1998" appears in Theda Skocpol & Morris Fiorina (eds.)., Civic Engagement in American Democracy (Brookings Institution, 1999)

."Blurred Boundaries, Hybrids, and Changlings: The Fortunes of Nonprofit Organizations in the Late Twentieth Century," appears in George E. Marcus (ed.), Critical Anthropology Now: Unexpected Contexts, Shifting
Constituencies, Changing Agendas
(School of American Research, Press, 1999).


Globalization and Transnationality

"Globalization: A Chapter in the Sociology of Knowledge" was presented at the 2002 annual meeting of the Social Science History Association.

"The New Globalism: Reflecting on the Sources of Transnational Identity" appears in Srilatha Batilwala & L. David Brown (eds.), Transnational Civil Society (Kumarian, 2006)



Documentary History of Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Nonprofit Organizations in the United States, 1600 to the Present is an on-line resource for students, teachers, and scholars. It consists of edited documents, interpretive essays, and bibliographies. At its present state of completion, entries cover the Colonial Period and much of the nineteenth century. This is a work-in-progress.

The Philanthropy Classics Access Project is a series on on-line reissues of important out-of-print books and articles on charity, civil society, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, and related topics. Each volume features an interpretive essay by a distinguished scholar explaining its significance at the time of original publication and as it relates to contemporary scholarship. The volumes, in .pdf format, are downloadable at no charge.

Nonprofit News & Comment, the Hauser Center news blog, surveys three dozen global media outlets daily for stories about charity, philanthropy, nonprofit and voluntary organizations, and legal and public policy issues rrelating to them. The blog's archive contains precises and links to full stories, categorized by industry, topic, and nation.



The Ives Vocal Marathon is an enterprise devoted to presenting , performing, and interpreting all the songs of Charles Ives -- America's greatest composer. I am a resident humanist with the group.

"East Rock: Facts, Artifacts, and Memories" originally appeared in The Journal of the New Haven Colony Historical Society in 2002. This is a lavishly illustrated version of the original text. For an illustrated history of New Haven's Ronan-Edgehill Neighborhood, where I live, click this link.

"Thomas Phillips & Son: Artisans and Entrepreneurs" is a web document devoted to the history of one of New England's oldest monument companies and the extraordinary collection of photographs, ledgers, correspondence, drawings, and trade publications on and about the company and the stone industry currently housed at the New Haven Colony Historical Society. The Phillips Company began business in 1848, carving gravestones and architectural stonework. It ceased operations in 1988. Because its owners never threw anything away, the collection -- donated by Dorothy (Mrs. John) Perkins -- is the most complete and comprehensive archive on American stonecarving in existence.

Alamoosook Island Camp is an archive of materials documenting the history of a classic Maine summer camp. An example of the extracurriculum created by progressive educators of the 1920s and 30s to impart civic values and develop character, AIC was established in 1929 and closed in 1968. During that time some 600 young men and women shared remarkable formative experiences -- and had a lot of fun too! For additional goodies, check ot the A.I.C. Facebook page!

The Harvard Squirrel Archive is a collection of articles, published between the 1880s and the present, chronicling the antics of America's most learned rodents. For a comment on the Squirrel Archive, check this out.



Courses I've taught in the School of Public Affairs, City University of New York.

PAF 9158: Giving and Getting: Introduction to Philanthropy
PAF 9150: Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector
PAF 9151: The Administration of Non-for-Profit and Voluntary Agencies
PAF 9157: Religion, Politics, and Public Policy in the United States