Jeff Bremer

Iowa History, Agricultural & Rural History, Early American Republic, History Education


Office:621 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA


I am a specialist in the early American republic, with an interest in the history of the American Midwest. In 2014 the University of Iowa Press published my book A Store Almost in Sight: The Economic Transformation of Missouri From the Louisiana Purchase to the Civil War. In 2019, I was a Fulbright Scholar at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China, one of the most important American studies programs in the PRC, where I taught U.S. history and the history of capitalism.

My current research project is a narrative survey of the state, A New History of Iowa, 1673-2020. This book will be published in late 2022 by the University of Kansas Press, as part of their series on Midwestern state history.

A New History of Iowa uses new and overlooked sources to tell a fresh and inclusive story of a neglected part of the United States. Iowa sent a regiment of African-American troops to fight in the Civil War and desegregated its schools in the 1860s. The state sent dozens of Meskwaki code talkers and Tuskegee Airmen to fight fascism in Europe during World War Two. It came close to giving women the right to vote in the early 1870s. These stories and many others will be part of this narrative history of Iowa.

I have also started work on a highly ambitious series of five books on Iowa history that may take 25 or 30 years to complete. This pentalogy is modeled on Kevin Starr’s magnificent eight-volume history of California and seeks to fully integrate the stories of women and Iowa’s minority groups into the state’s history. The first volume will be a history of the American conquest and settlement of this state, with the unoriginal title of Frontier Iowa. This would be the first synthesis of this topic in almost a century. I have also begun research on a one-volume history of Iowa in the Civil War era. Three other volumes would survey the state’s history up to the mid-21st Century, when I hope to have the project finished.

I have published articles in Kansas History, The Annals of Iowa, The Missouri Historical Review, The Southern California Quarterly and contributed chapters to The Routledge History of Rural America, The Kansas Territorial Reader, and other edited collections.

A former history teacher in California, I help coordinate ISU’s history and social studies program. I teach methods courses and supervise student teachers. (See the ‘teacher education’ link at ‘undergraduate study’ on the history department webpage for more information.) In addition, I teach Iowa history and the history of the early republic. I have also taught the history of science, western civilization, and the U.S. West at other colleges. I taught history in France and Italy for a semester study abroad program in 2002 and taught a summer class on the American frontier “on the road” across nine western states in 2011.

You may find drafts of several chapters from A New History of Iowa at ISU’s digital repository. I teach an online Iowa history undergraduate course every summer and I am happy to advise new graduate students for our department’s MA and PhD programs.