19th and 20th century US, cultural history, history of technology
Michael O'Malley is the author of Keeping Watch: A History of American Time, and Face Value: the Entwined History of Race and Money in America. Keeping Watch explores the transition from natural to mechanical sources for time, and the invention of standard time and daylight saving. Face Value is a history of the ways Americans argued about race when they argued about the subject of money and value. O'Malley is also co-editor of a collection of essays, The Cultural Turn in US History: Past, Present, and Future.
O'Malley helped establish the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at GMU, and was one of the early pioneers in the use of digital media. He has published and presented on web design for historians and remains active in the field.
Other research interests include the history of American music, the technology of sound recording, and the trajectory of eugenics in the 20th century. Surprisingly, the State of Virginia has declared him to be "colored."
His most recent book, forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, is a biography of Francis O'Neill, an immigrant who rose to be chief of the Chicago Police and who was obsessed with defining and collecting Irish folk music. It's provisionally titled Policing the Jig: Francis O'Neill an the Invention of Irish Music
He is currently researching a book about about the relationship between history and genealogy, focusing on the career of Walter Plecker, who declared his ancestors to be colored people.
With Matt Karush, he was awarded $150, 000 from the NEH for Hearing the Americas, a website that annotates and explores the first two decade of recorded music in the New World
“I'm working of a biography of Francis O'Neill, who left Ireland as a young man, went to sea, and eventually wound up as a cop in Chicago in 1872. By 1900, he had risen to become Superintendent of Police. O'Neill was obsessed with Irish folk music, and he walked his beat he would hear fellow immigrants playing the music of his rural childhood. O'Neill would memorize the tune and with the help of colleagues, write them down. His multiple publications of Irish folk music are often described as having "saved" the music. I'm interested in O'Neill as a transnational figure, and as someone with one foot in the modern industrial world and another in nostalgia for a vanished past. He was an agent of the State in the US and an agent of Irish nationalism in the land of his birth."
Face Value: The Entwined History of Race and Money in America (Chicago 2012)
With James Cook And Lawrence Glickman, The Cultural Turn in US History: Past, Present, and Future (Chicago 2009)
Keeping Watch: A History of American Time (Viking/Penguin edition 1990: Smithsonian press edition 1995)
Selected Articles and Book Chapters
"Money and the Everyday: Paper Money, Nationalism and Community in the Antebellum US," in Federico Neiburg and Nigel Dodds ed, A Cultural History of Money in the Age of Empire (London, 2019)
"The Ten Dollar Founding Father: Hamilton. Money, and Federal Power," in Renne Romano and Clair Bond Potter eds., Historians on Hamilton (new Brunswick, NJ 2018)
"Dark Enough as It Is: Eddie Lang and the Minstrel Cycle," in Journal of Social History, Volume 52, Issue 2, Winter 2018, Pages 234–259, https://doi.org/10.1093/jsh/shy024
With Roy Rosenzweig, “Brave New World or Blind Alley: American History on the World Wide Web,” in Journal of American History, (June 1997)
“Specie and Species: Race and the Money Question in 19th Century America,” and “Response to Nell Irvin Painter,” both in American Historical Review 99 (April 1994)
“Free Silver and the Constitution of Man: The Money Debate and Immigration at the Turn of the Century,” in Common-Place (Vol. 06, No. 03, April 2006)
With Roy Rosenzweig and the American Social History project, Who Built America? V. II (CD-Rom edition) December 1999
History 389: Magic, Illusion, and Detection
History 389: The American History of Money
History 610: History and Memory
History 626: Technology and Culture
History 629: The Gilded Age and Progressive Era
BA Temple University, 1981
PhD. University of California, Berkeley, 1988
Jeri E. Wieringa, A Gospel of Health and Salvation: Modeling the Religious Culture of Seventh-day Adventism, 1843-1920 (2019)
Anne McDivitt, We Take Fun Seriously: The Creation of the Video Game Industry in the United States (2018)
Nathan Sleeter, Fortunate Deviates: A Cultural History of Gifted Children, 1916-1965 (2017)
Gerald Prout, Coxey's Challenge in the Populist Moment (2012)