Sommers, Susan Mitchell 1961-
Sommers, Susan Mitchell 1961-
Born March 30, 1961. Education: Southern Illinois University, B.A., 1982, M.A. (history), 1984; Washington University in St. Louis, M.A. (history), 1989, Ph.D., 1992.
Office—Saint Vincent College, 300 Fraser Purchase Rd., Latrobe, PA 15650-2690. E-mail—[email protected].
Academic and historian. Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA, associate professor of history, department of history chair.
American Historical Association, Institute for Historical Research, North American Conference on British Studies, North East Conference on British Studies, Society for Eighteenth Century Studies.
Quentin Schaut Faculty Award, Saint Vincent College, 2000; Thoburn Excellence in Teaching Award, Saint Vincent College, 2002.
Parliamentary Politics of a County and Its Town: General Elections in Suffolk and Ipswich in the Eighteenth Century, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals and journals, including the Historian, H-Net Multimedia Review, and Parliamentary History. Regional subeditor for book reviews for the Historian.
Susan Mitchell Sommers is an academic and historian. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Southern Illinois University in 1982. Two years later she completed a master of arts in history from the same university. In 1989 she completed another master of arts degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis, where she also completed a Ph.D. in history in 1992. She eventually became an associate professor of history at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, as well as becoming chair of the department of history. Her research interests include British history, European political and cultural history, historiography, intellectual history, eighteenth-century Europe and Latin America.
Sommers published her first book, Parliamentary Politics of a County and Its Town: General Elections in Suffolk and Ipswich in the Eighteenth Century, in 2002. The account looks at the politics and politicking in Ipswich, England, and the surrounding Suffolk County in the eighteenth century. She covers the changing roles of political parties at the time and discusses how they remained relevant in the lives of those they were charged with representing.
Bob Harris, writing in Albion, found that Parliamentary Politics of a County and Its Town "very much fits the mold of earlier studies, and her findings lend further weight to the views of [Frank] O'Gorman and others who wish to emphasize the importance of change in the final third of the century." Harris continued, noting that "this is, in short, a carefully researched piece of scholarship, but one that at times seems to get bogged down in narrative detail and which needed to acknowledge more fully and overtly its debt to frameworks of understanding created by other scholars." Frank O'Gorman, reviewing the book in the Historian, commented that "Sommers is careful not to leap to rash conclusions, and she is careful to avoid extremes," appending that "she has a definite view of the trajectory of party politics." O'Gorman was critical, however, noting that "one of the most interesting aspects of the electoral history of Ipswich in the eighteenth century—the annual struggle for municipal offices—is scarcely touched on in this volume." O'Gorman added that "sadly, there is nothing on those beyond the circle of electors, the nonvoters, until we come to the last paragraph of the book." Overall, O'Gorman summarized that Parliamentary Politics of a County and Its Town is a "valuable contribution to the electoral history of Britain."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albion, January 1, 2004, Bob Harris, review of Parliamentary Politics of a County and Its Town: General Elections in Suffolk and Ipswich in the Eighteenth Century, p. 659.
Historian, September 22, 2006, Frank O'Gorman, review of Parliamentary Politics of a County and Its Town, p. 645.
Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2002, review of Parliamentary Politics of a County and Its Town, p. 138.
Saint Vincent College, Department of History Web site,http://stvincent.edu/academics/ (May 9, 2008), author profile.