Daniel J. Wilson 

In Memoriam

Professor of History, Emeritus


B.A., The University of Wisconsin - Whitewater (1972)
M.A., The Johns Hopkins University (1974)
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University (1976)

Teaching Fields:
American Social, Cultural and Intellectual, 19th and 20th Centuries, History of Disease, Medicine, and Public Health

My graduate training was in the cultural and intellectual history of the United States.  Since coming to Muhlenberg in 1978, I taught a wide variety of topics under that general heading.  I taught numerous advanced courses including Nineteenth Century America, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Women's History, African-American History, Environmental History and the History of Medicine and Public Health.  The topics of my Introductions to History included coming of age in America, the city in American culture, and epidemics in American history.

Since the early 1990s I have focused my scholarly work on the history of the polio epidemics in the United States.  My studies of polio have emphasized the experiences of the individuals who had the disease during the many epidemics prior to the development of the Salk polio vaccine in 1955.  To date I have published three books and several articles on the subject.  I am also particularly interested in the subject of masculinity and disability and have been active in disability studies.

Courses Taught:
Nineteenth Century America
American Cultural & Intellectual History: Nineteenth Century
American Cultural & Intellectual History Since 1900
Disease & Medicine in American History
History of Public Health in America
Gendering in American History

Selected Grants and Awards:
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality / National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. 2002-2003

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on Disability Studies, San Francisco State University, Summer 2000

Beeke-Levy Research Fellowship, The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, 1993

National Endowment for the Humanities Travel to Collections Grant, 1992

American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1981-82

Class of 1932 Research Professor, Muhlenberg College, 1986-87, 2008-2009

Selected Publications:

Polio: Biography of a Disease.
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2009.

Polio Voices: An Oral History from the American Polio Epidemics and Worldwide Eradication Efforts. Edited with Julie K. Silver, M.D. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007.

Living with Polio: The Epidemic and Its Survivors. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005

Science, Community, and the Transformation of American Philosophy, 1860-1930.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

The Cause of the South: Selections from De Bow's Review, 1846-1867.  Edited with Paul F. Paskoff.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982.

Arthur O. Lovejoy and the Quest for Intelligibility.  Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press, 1980.

Articles in History of Medicine and History of Disability:
“‘No Defectives Need Apply’: Disability and Immigration.” OAH Magazine of History, 23 (2009), 35-40.

“Teaching Disability History.”  OAH Magazine of History, 23 (July 2009), 7-8.

“And They Shall Walk:  Ideal versus Reality in Polio Rehabilitation in the United States.”  Asclepio: Revista de Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia, LXI (2009), 175-192.

“Psychological Trauma and Its Treatment in the Polio Epidemics.”  Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 82 (2008), 848-877.

“Braces, Wheelchairs, and Iron Lungs: The Paralyzed Body and the Machinery of Rehabilitation in the Polio Epidemics, The Journal of Medical Humanities, 26 (Fall 2005), 173-190.

“Fighting Polio Like a Man: Intersections of Masculinity, Disability, and Aging,” Gendering Disability (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004), 199-233.

"Crippled Manhood: Infantile Paralysis and the Construction of Masculinity," Medical Humanities Review 12 (Fall 1998), pp. 9-28.

"A Crippling Fear: Experiencing Polio in the Era of FDR," Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 72 (Fall 1998), pp. 464-495.

"Covenants of Work and Grace: Themes of Recovery and Redemption in Polio Narratives."  Literature and Medicine, 13 (1994), pp. 22-41.