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Art for the Middle Classes

Art for the Middle Classes

Cynthia  Patterson

Cynthia Patterson

Cynthia Patterson
Associate Professor


Office: CPR 358-D
Phone: 813/974-9501



Cynthia Patterson is an Associate Professor of English and the co-editor of American Periodicals, the journal of the Research Society for American Periodicals. She earned a B.A. in English (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with Honors) from Miami University in 1979, an M.A. in English from Tulane University in 1982, and a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from George Mason University in 2005. She taught previously at both Tulane and George Mason. In addition to her academic career, Dr. Patterson spent 20+ years in the corporate world, first as a journalist, then holding management positions in the fitness and medical fields, and operating a small business (in fitness education and consulting). She teaches professional/technical writing, American literature, and cultural studies courses, in multiple formats, including face-to-face, hybrid, and online (synchronous and asynchronous).

Her book Art for the Middle Classes: America’s Illustrated Magazines of the 1840s (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2010) garnered the sole “Honorable Mention” in the EBSCOhost/Research Society for American Periodicals book prize contest for 2010. This book received financial support from several prestigious research fellowships, including the Jay and Deborah Last Fellowship in American Visual Culture from the American Antiquarian Society, the Smithsonian Institutions, Winterthur Library, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

More recent projects examine the contributions of women’s sewing and reading groups to late 19th and early 20th century labor, religion, and social reform movements. Dr. Patterson targets her publications to both academic and general audiences. Article and book chapter publications include:

  • “’Hermaphroditish Disturbers of the Peace’: Rufus Griswold, Elizabeth Oakes smith, and Nineteenth-Century Discourses of Ambiguous Sex,” Women’s Studies 45:6 (August 2016), 513-533.
  • “The Caroline Howard Gilman We Don’t Know: Recuperating Gilman’s Work for the Charleston Unitarian Sewing Society,” The Southern Quarterly 52: 2 (Winter 2015), 150-171.
  • “Magazines as Historical Study Subjects: Reflecting the Sociocultural Reality,” in The Routledge Handbook of Magazine Research: The Future of the Magazine Form, edited by David Abrahamson and Marcia R. Prior-Miller (New York: Routledge, 2015)
  • “Performative Morality: Godey’s Match Plates, Nineteenth-Century Stage Practice, and Social/Political/Economic Commentary in America’s Popular Ladies’ Magazines,” Journal of American Studies 48:2 (May 2014), pp. 613-637; published electronically on 14 February 2014. Copyright Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  • “A Wider Field”: Caroline Gilman and the Charleston Unitarian Ladies Sewing Society, Carologue: A Publication of the South Carolina Historical Society Vol. 28, No. 3 (Winter 2012), 12-16.

Current Courses

RefCourseSecCourse TitleCRDayTimeLocation
93270LIT 2000704Introduction to Literature


87602ENG 7916011Directed Research

TBA 100

81591ENG 7980002Dissertation: Doctoral
Adm to Candidacy Req'd S/U Only

TBA 100