Simon Cordery

Modern Transatlantic


Office:603 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA


As Chair of the History Department I oversee the administration and management of our excellent faculty and outstanding programs. Before becoming Chair here at Iowa State University in 2016, I served as Department Chair for four years at Western Illinois University and for six years at Monmouth College (Illinois). I taught at Monmouth for a total of eighteen years, during the first seven of which I also coached the women’s soccer team.  

The courses I teach include the second half of the Western Civilization sequence, Business History, Modern Britain and Sports History. I am developing new courses on the global history of mutualism and on the history of the railroad industry. These are designed to use relatively narrow themes to teach about the massive transformations our society has experienced over the past two hundred or so years.  

My research ranges across the modern Atlantic world, with two book projects underway, a biography of American entrepreneur Albert Benton Pullman and a study of transatlantic social relations from the eighteenth century to the present, tentatively titled Mutuality in the Modern World. My first book, British Friendly Societies, 1750-1914 (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003), was a study of those scandelously neglected voluntary insurance associations. Following this was Mother Jones: Raising Cain and Consciousness (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2010), an introduction to the American labor movement through the life of an amazing organizer. My most recent book is The Iron Road in the Prairie State: The Story of Illinois Railroading (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016), the first state-focused history of the railroad industry in Illinois and winner of the George W. and Constance M. Hilton Book Award from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.