Samantha Smith

Advisor: Dr. Kirsten Fermaglich Committee: Dr. Nakia Parker, Dr. Anna Pegler-Gordon, Dr. Aminda Smith

Fields: US History [Pre-1865 (Gender & Slavery), Post-1865 (Migration)]; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Visual and Material Culture Specialization: Women’s and Gender Studies

Samantha “Sam” Smith (she/her/grrrl) is a second year PhD student and works as a research assistant for Dr. Sharon Leon on the Mellon funded “On These Grounds” project, a digital initiative focused on describing the history of enslavement within archival collections at colleges and universities. Her current research focuses on nightlife and entertainment in Chicago and Las Vegas during the 20th century.

Prior to beginning her PhD studies, she worked as a project archivist for over four years at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois. During her time there she co-curated The Legacy of Chicago Dance exhibition (April 27 – July 6, 2019) with Alison Hinderliter, Lloyd Lewis Curator of Modern Manuscripts. As a project archivist she processed collections chiefly related to dance and the performing arts in Chicago. She also served on the reference desk and supervised graduate student internships.

Smith is a queer, first-gen PhD student, which for her means that she is the first one in her family to obtain a PhD. She grew up on the sacred and ancestral lands of the Menominee and Ho-Chunk Nations in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the Lake Winnebago Region. She received her B.A. in Gender Studies (with minors in English and History) from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 2012, her M.A. in Public History from Loyola University Chicago in 2014, and her M.L.I.S. (with a certificate in Archival and Cultural Heritage Resources and Services) from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois in 2016.

For prospective students, feel free to e-mail her at with any questions you might have about the PhD program.

At St. Mark’s in Venice in 2016! As a graduate student in library science, I attended the International Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, Italy for a course on International Children’s Publishing. I am continually grateful for the financial assistance we all received to attend.