Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

African American

Elliott J. Gorn

Title/s:  Professor
Joseph A. Gagliano Chair in American Urban History

Office #:  Crown Center 559

Phone: 773.508.8679

Email: egorn@luc.edu

CV Link: Gorn CV


Elliott J. Gorn (Ph.D. Yale University, 1983, A.B. University of California, Berkeley, 1973) is the Joseph Gagliano Professor of American Urban History and has a distinguished record of scholarship, publication and excellence in teaching and student mentorship.  His books and articles embrace multiple aspects of urban and American culture, particularly the history of various social groups in American cities since 1800.  Gorn’s work is interdisciplinary and intersects with numerous other fields.  His five major books examine various aspects of urban life and city cultures in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States, including Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till (Oxford University Press, October 2018), Dillinger’s Wild Ride: The Year That Made America’s Public Enemy Number One (Oxford University Press, 2009); Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America (Hill and Wang, 2001, Korean edition, 2003); A Brief History of American Sports, co-authored with Warren Goldstein (Hill and Wang, 1993; reissued University of Illinois Press, 2004); and The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America (Cornell University Press, 1986; 2nd edition, 2010, with a new bibliography and afterword).

Gorn has edited eight volumes, including Sports in Chicago (University of Illinois Press, 2008); The McGuffey Readers: Selections from the 1879 Edition, with an introduction (Bedford Books, 1998); Muhammad Ali, The Peoples' Champ (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995); and The Encyclopedia of American Social History, 3 volumes, co-edited with Peter Williams and Mary Cayton (Scribners, 1993), which was awarded the Dartmouth Certificate by the American Library Association.  He has published and reprinted more than 50 articles, book chapters and reviews in a wide variety of scholarly journals, encyclopedias, edited collections and news magazines, including the American Historical Review, the Journal of American History, the Journal of American Studies, the Journal of Urban History, the Journal of Sport HistoryAmerican Quarterly, the International Journal of Maritime HistoryHarper’s Magazine, the Chronicle of Higher EducationMother Jones, Boom: A Journal of California, Le Monde Diplomatique Dissent On-Line, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune.

Gorn's teaching focuses on modern United States history, particularly social, cultural and urban history. He has taught courses on the history of sports, Chicago, masculinity and gender, film, biography and autobiography, war in American culture, and the United States survey. Gorn’s interest in the U.S. survey class (part of Loyola’s core curriculum) is reflected in his two-volume, co-edited (with Randy Roberts and Terry Bilhartz) textbook Constructing the American Past, A Sourcebook of a Peoples' History (New York: Pearson/Longman, 2010, orig. 1991), now in its seventh edition.  He co-taught a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College Teachers, “Biography and Social History” at the Newberry Library in 1997.  Gorn is the recipient of the Miami University Distinguished Educator Award (1997) and the Effective Educator Award, Miami (1995, 1996).  Since 2003, he has been a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Gorn has developed strong relationships with Chicago cultural institutions in recent years.  He was a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library from 1995-2013, where he taught the NEH seminar (1997) for college teachers mentioned above and served on a variety of committees.  From 2000-03, he was the primary academic consultant for the exhibit Chicago Sports:  You Shoulda’ Been There at the Chicago Historical Society (on display from April-December, 2003). 

Gorn previously taught at Brown University (2003-2012), Purdue University (1998-2002), Miami University of Ohio (1985-98), and the University of Alabama (1981-85).  He has served as the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in North American Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland (2009-2010); the Los Angeles Times Distinguished Fellow at the Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.  (2005-2006); a Fellow at the Purdue Center for Humanistic Studies (2000); a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (1997-1998); a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Newberry Library (1993-1994); an Irish American Cultural Institute Fellow (1993); an Andrew Mellon Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center (1988-1989); and a Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Fellow (1984-85)

YouTube Video

Research Interests

19th - 20th centuries, popular culture, sports, labor, urban

Selected Publications


Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till, Oxford University Press, October 2018.

The Manly Art, Cornell University Press, 1986, 2010. 

Dillinger's Wild Ride, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Sports in Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 2008.

A Brief History of American Sports, Hill and Wang, 1993, 2004.

Mother Jones, Hill and Wang, 2001. 

Muhammad Ali, The People's Champ, University of Illinois Press, 1995.


Editor or co-editor of:

Constructing the American Past (2 vols, 8 editions, 1991-2017).

Encyclopedia of American Social History, 1993 (3 vols.).

The McGuffey Readers: Selections from the 1879 Edition, Bedford/St. Martins, 1998.