David Contosta, Ph.D.

Professor of History
History and Political Science Department

Office Location:  St. Joseph Hall, 2nd flr., West Wing, SJ217
Office Phone:  215.248.7190

Educational Background 

  • Ph.D., History, Miami University of Ohio, 1973
  • Fulbright Scholar to France
  • Visiting Scholar, Cambridge University

Courses Taught 

  • History of Chestnut Hill
  • U.S. in the 20th Century
  • America and the 1960's
  • Progressive America
  • Philadelphia and Pennsylvania History
  • United States History Surveys
  • Cities and Suburbs
  • Civil War
  • The Presidency

Selected Publications 

Author of approximately 100 articles, reviews, and scholarly papers, including:

  • "Philadelphia's Miniature Williamsburg: The Colonial Revival and Germantown's Market Square," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (October 1996), pp. 1-39
  • "Suburban Quasi Government in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (July 1992), pp. 259-293
    "Architecture and the American Survey," The History Teacher (November, 1984), pp. 17-43
  • "Origins of Early Domestic Architecture in Lancaster, Ohio," The Old Northwest (Full 1981), pp. 201-216
  • Charles Peguy, critique du monde moderne, " Feuillets Mensuels de l'Amitie Charles Peguy, 209 (April 1976), pp. 11-18
  • "John Ruskin on Pollution and Moral Responsibility, "  Phi Kappa Phi Journal (Fall 1972), pp. 64-69

Author of 20 books, including:

  • Henry Adams and the American Experiment. Boston: Litle, Brown, 1980. (hardcover and paper).
  • America in the Twentieth Century. New York: HarperCollins, 1988.
  • A Philadelphia Family. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988. (hardcover and paper).
  • Lancaster, Ohio: Frontier Town to Edge City, 1800-2000. 1999.
  • Saint Joseph's: Philadelphia's Jesuit University: 150 Years. 2000.
  • Suburb in the City: Chestnut Hill Philadelphia. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1992. (hardcover and paper).
  • Villanova University: America--Catholic--Augustinian.1842-1992. University Park, PA.: Penn State University Press, 1995.
  • Pennsylvania's Progressive Orphanage: The Carson Valley School 1918-1993 (Penn State Press, 1997).
  • Rebel Giants The Revolutionary Lives of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books 2008.
  • Metropolitan Paradise: The Struggle for Nature in the City: Philadelphia's Wissahickon Valley, 1620-2020. Philadelphia: St. Joseph's University Press, 2010.
  • Dr. Contosta is currently working on a documentary film based on his book, Metropolitan Paradise.

Honors and Awards 

  • Nanjing University, Nanjing China, 2008
  • Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2006
  • Chestnut Hill Community Association Award, 2005
  • Eli Lilly Endowment, Writer for Yale Project on Colleges Founded by Catholic Women's Religious, 1983-87.
  • Commonwealth Speaker, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, 1983-84, 1998-99.
  • American Philosophical Society, Travel Grant, 1982
  • Fulbright Scholar, to France, 1972-73
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1967
  • Who's Who in the World
  • Who's Who in American Education
  • Who's Who in the East
  • Contemporary Authors