A A Email Print Share
Holly Mayer

Holly Mayer

Associate Professor
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

College Hall 618
Phone: 412.396.6461


Ph.D., History, College of William and Mary
M.A., History, University of Oregon
B.A., American Civilization, University of Pennsylvania
Biography & Research Interests

After earning a B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. at the University of Oregon, a Ph.D. at the College of William and Mary, and duty with the United States Army, Professor Mayer moved to Pittsburgh to teach at Duquesne. Her courses, which are primarily on early America, encompass cultural, social, and political issues, including the relationships between European, African, and Native American peoples, gender roles, intellectual trends, and the development of American identity. Dr. Mayer's research field is broadly defined as late eighteenth-century America with a particular focus on the American Revolution, civil-military relations, and the evolution of American character and culture.

Cover image of Dr. Holly Mayer's book Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and Community During the American RevolutionDr. Mayer's book Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and Community during the American Revolution chronicles the identities and importance of civilians to the American Revolutionary War effort. Belonging to the Army reveals the identity and importance of the civilians now referred to as camp followers, whom Dr. Mayer calls the forgotten revolutionaries of the War for American Independence. These merchants, contractors, family members, servants, government officers, and military employees provided necessary supplies, services, and emotional support to the troops of the Continental Army. Mayer describes their activities and demonstrates how they made encampments livable communities and played a fundamental role in the survival and ultimate success of the Continental Army. She also considers how the army wanted to be rid of the followers but were unsuccessful because of the civilians' essential support functions and determination to make camps into communities. Instead the civilians' assimilation gave an expansive meaning to the term "belonging to the army."

Cover image of textbook For the Record: A Documentary History of America, co-edited by Dr. Holly Mayer

Dr. Mayer also served as co-editor for the textbook For the Record: A Documentary History of America which features nearly 250 source selections, both textual and visual, drawn from a broad range of government documents, newspapers, speeches, letters, novels, and images. The textbook includes a general introduction on how to read primary-source documents, two-page chapter introductions that contextualize the selections, headnotes for each selection, review questions for each document, and non-interpretive footnotes that illuminate references and terms-that helps students navigate and interpret the selections.


 HIST 203:  American History to 1877

HIST 204:  History of the U.S. since 1877

HIST 311W: Writing History

HIST 320:  Colonial America

HIST 321:  American Revolution

HIST 351:  US Foreign Relations to WWI

HIST 387:  Native American History

HIST 430W/530:  Atlantic World, 1450s-1750s

HIST 563:  Early America: Colonization to Revolution

HIST 579:  US Diplomatic History

HIST 691:  Research Seminar


Dr. Mayer is presently working on a book manuscript titled Congress's Own: The 2nd Canadian Regiment's War for Independence.


Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and Community during the American Revolution. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.

For the Record: A Documentary History of America. 2 vols. Co-edited with David E. Shi. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1999; rev. eds. 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016.

Some Articles & Essays:

-"Soldiering, but not Soldiers" Trend & Tradition (The Magazine of Colonial Williamsburg), vol. 1, no. 4 (Autumn 2016): 100-6.

-"Religious Freedom in the Ranks." Mount Vernon magazine. (Spring 2016): 42-43.

-"Canada, Congress, and the Continental Army: Strategic Accommodations, 1774-1776." Journal of Military History 78, no. 2 (April 2014): 503-35.

-"Canada and the American Revolution." In Reflections, Museum of the American Revolution Center website (first published April 2012). URL: https://www.amrevmuseum.org/updates/reflections/canada-and-american-revolution

-"Bearing Arms, Bearing Burdens: Women Warriors, Camp Followers, and Home-front Heroines of the American Revolution," in Gender, War, and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives, 1775-1820, ed. by Karen Hagemann, Gisela Mettele, & Jane Rendall. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010. Pp. 169-187.

-"Women and Wagoners: Camp Followers in the American War for Independence." History Now (Gilder Lehrman Institute's on-line quarterly) 21 (September 2009).

-"Wives, Concubines, and Community: Following the Army." In War and Society in the American Revolution, editors John Resch and Walter Sargent. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2007. Pp. 235-62.

-"From Forbes to Families: Following the Army into Western Pennsylvania, 1758-1766." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 130 (January 2006): 5-43

-"Food for Thought: Reflections on the Study of War." Pennsylvania Legacies (Historical Society of Pennsylvania) 5, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 36-37.

-"Forging the Armor of Virtue." Pennsylvania Legacies (Historical Society of Pennsylvania) 2, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 13-17.

-"Soldierly Subordination: The Issue of Deference in the Continental Army." In The Military and Society, ed. by Peter Karsten. Vol. 2, The Training and Socializing of Military Personnel. New York: Garland Publishers, 1998. Pp 293-307.


Honors, scholarships, and grants awarded since 2000:
  • Harold Keith Johnson Chair of Military History, 2016-17, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA.

  • Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, Short-term Fellowship, Charlottesville, VA, 2016.

  • McAnulty College Faculty Excellence Award for Service, 2015

  • The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, Short-Term Residential Fellowship, Mt. Vernon, VA, 2014-15

  • Gilder Lehrman Short-Term Residential Fellowship, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library and Colonial Williamsburg Research Division, Williamsburg, VA, 2014

  • NEH Endowment Grant for Research, McAnulty College & Graduate School, 2013

  • Society of the Cincinnati Scholars' Grant, The Society of the Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., 2013

  • NEH College Endowment Grant for Research, McAnulty College & Graduate School, Duquesne University, 2006

  • Wimmer Family Foundation Faculty Development Award, Duquesne University, 2004

  • David Library of the American Revolution one-month research fellowship, 2001-2002

  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation One-Month Research Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 2001-2002

  • Severino Russo Award, Duquesne University, 2001-2002