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Susan Williams


Phone: 603-321-0301

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Professional Info

I taught U.S. history at Fitchburg State College (now University) from 1992 until I retired in 2013 and moved to Santa Fe. Before that, I was a museum curator for fifteen years, at a large history museum in Rochester, New York. I curated many different collections, but mainly related to American domestic life during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I specialized in glass, ceramics, silver, and other metals. 

I also am an historian of food and have written two books on that topic. One of the great joys of my teaching career was leading groups of students to Verona, Italy, for a study abroad program, where I taught a course on the historical foodways of the Mediteranean.


In 2003, I started painting seriously, after six-week long trip to Tuscany and Venice. I retired from teaching in 2013, moved to Santa Fe, and began painting full time. I joined the Eldorado Arts and Crafts Association in New Mexico and was part of their Studio Tour for the first time in May, 2018. I loved living in this new landscape of mountains and deserts. As a subject, New Mexico was a giant leap away from the lakes and forests of New England that had informed my work for many years. In 2021, however, I moved back East, to Van Hornesville, New York and have had to reinstate my green palette in the land of trees.

My paintings reflect my life interests—landscapes, gardens, plants, water, Italy, France, New England, the Southwest, and the Mohawk Valley landscape. Recently, I’ve begun painting animals, with my two dogs as my favorite subjects. I love the versitality of watercolor, the potential of layering color over color to create beautiful effects, and the spontineity of the medium. I can do it anywhere, anytime—in my home studio and on the road. New Mexico offered me a complete new range of subjects and palette, very different from my original artistic home in the shadow of Mount Monanock New Hampshire. Here in Van Hornesville, I am living in a land of verdant farmscapes and lots of water. As I continue to grow as an artist, I will post my work here for comment and constructive criticism, as well as for sale. 

Work experience

Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, MA 01420 

​1992 - 2013

Professor of History, 2007-2013, retired December 2013; Associate Professor of History, 2002-2007; Assistant Professor of History, 1992-2002; Tenure awarded 1999. Graduate Program Chair, MA/MAT in History Program,  1994-1999, Co-Chair, 2006-present. Co-Coordinator of the Women’s Studies Minor. Study Abroad Program leader: “Food: The Mediterranean Connection,” in Verona, Italy (2008, 2010). Visiting Professor of North American Studies, Renvall Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland 1999-2000. Visiting Lecturer, University of Turku, Finland, 1995

Historic New England, Boston, MA


Site Manager, Barrett House, New Ipswich, NH. Barrett House, also known as Forest Hall, is a Federal-era mansion, occupied by Barretts and their descendants from 1800 until the 1950s, when it was donated to Historic New England.

Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, Rochester, NY


Curator of Household Accessories and Tablewares, 1982-1988

Assistant,then Associate Curator, Decorative Arts, 1973-1982

Specialties included American and European Glass, Ceramics, and Silver;

American domestic life, vernacular architecture, and foodways, 1829-1939


Ph.D. University of Delaware, 1992

B.A. University of Denver, 1970

Vassar College, 1966-1969

Selected Publications


  • Alice Morse Earle and the Domestic History of Early America. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press (2012)

  • Food in the United States, 1820s-1890. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, (2006)

  • Savory  Suppers and Fashionable Feasts:  Dining in Victorian America.  New York:  Pantheon Books, (1985) second edition with new introduction, Knoxville:  University of Tennessee Press (1996)

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