Lasdow, Kathryn

Field: United States; Advisor: Blackmar; Year: 2012

Katy is a public historian and scholar of the early American republic. Both in and beyond the university, her work creates opportunities for the broader public to engage with complex historical ideas and to share what they have learned with others.

Currently, Katy is the Assistant Public Historian at Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS), curating the exhibition Waterfront, which opens in Empire Stores in January 2018. With the BHS team, she helped turn Empire Stores from a derelict 19th century coffee warehouse into a vibrant cultural space. The project has been featured in numerous news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Curbed. In 2017, Katy was Lead Exhibition Writer for BHS’s Until Everyone Has It Made: Jackie Robinson's Legacy, commemorating the 70th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's “color barrier” and his continued legacy in sports activism today.

As a doctoral candidate in History, Katy's research focuses on architecture, city building, and material culture in the early republic. Her dissertation entitled, “A Spirit of Improvement: Construction, Conflict, and Community in Early-National Port Cities,” explores the social and economic ramifications of waterfront development in post-Revolutionary port cities through the perspectives of the men and women whose lives were enmeshed in efforts to replace outdated ports with state-of-the-art infrastructure. The Library Company of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, among others, have generously supported her project.


She holds a M.A. in Architectural History from the University of Virginia. She graduated from the College of William of Mary with a B.A. in History and Music Performance, and a certificate in Early American History, Material Culture, and Museum Studies.


Katy has previously held positions with the Historic American Buildings Survey, the White House Historical Association, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the Museum of the City of New York. She has a particular professional interest in the digital humanities, fundraising and outreach for non-profits, and visitor feedback and assessment practices for cultural institutions.

A dedicated musician and performer, Katy is an oboist with the Brooklyn Wind Symphony.