Section Menu


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2011

M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2007

B.A., Wesleyan University, 2004



William Kuby studies nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States history, with research and teaching focuses in the history of marriage and family, the history of  sexuality, cultural history, legal history, African American history, and queer history. He has published work in the Journal of the History of Sexuality, the Journal of American Culture, and History: Reviews of New Books, and he contributed an essay to the recently published volume, Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times (ed. McEuen and Appleton, University of Georgia Press). He is currently at work on a book manuscript, tentatively titled Conjugal Misconduct: Forbidden Love and Marriage Law in the Twentieth-Century United States. This project explores a broad range of controversial and legally ambiguous marital practices, as well as the widespread cultural and legal backlash they generated.



Gender, Sex, and Society

United States History since 1865

Modern African American History

Sexuality in Modern America

Race, Ethnicity, and Class in the United States, 1890-1930

Modern U.S. History through Fiction and Film



Faculty Development Grant, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2014

Schlesinger Library Dissertation Support Grant, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, 2009


Publication Highlights

“Till Disinterest Do Us Part: Trial Marriage, Public Policy, and the Fear of Familial Decay in the United States, 1900-1930." Journal of the History of Sexuality 23, No. 3 (2014): 383-414.

“Mary Jane Warfield Clay: Wifely Devotion, Divorce, and Rebirth in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky." In Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times, edited by Melissa A. McEuen and Thomas H. Appleton Jr.: 59-80. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015.


Conference & Presentation Highlights

“‘No One Need Be Ashamed to Patronize Me’: Matrimonial Bureaus and Rural Southern Courtship,” Southern Association for Women Historians Triennial Conference, Charleston, June 2015

“I Am My Own Stepfather: Stepparent-Stepchild Marriage in American Law and Media, 1890-1920,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Saint Louis, April 2015

“‘Repugnant to Our Public Policy’: The Legal Backlash against Underage Trial Marriage, 1900-1930,” Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, May 2014

“Joined in Healthy Matrimony: The Price of United States Eugenic Marriage Laws,”  16th Annual Women’s History Conference, Sarah Lawrence College, March 2014

“Nothing Personal: Matrimonial Advertisements and the Mass Marketing of Romance, 1900-1920,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Houston, March 2011



American Historical Association

Organization of American Historians

Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender History

Southern Association for Women Historians

Law and Society Association