Professor of History
History and Political Science Department
St. Joseph Hall, 2nd flr., West Wing, SJ217
- Ph.D., History, Miami University of Ohio, 1973
- Fulbright Scholar to France
- Visiting Scholar, Cambridge University
- 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
- 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
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.