I am Professor of History and of Women’s and Gender Studies at Simmons University in Boston. My first book was At Home in the Studio: The Professionalization of Women Artists in the United States (Harvard University Press). In 2017-2018, I was Visiting Professor and Research Associate in the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at the Harvard Divinity School, where I began writing a book manuscript entitled, “Bibles and Butterfly Sleeves: Women and Protestant Missions in the Philippines, 1898-1945.” I have a special interest in using visual and material culture, from photographs to dress, as sources for women’s lived experience. I directed the History graduate program at Simmons for several years. I greatly enjoy working with students on their research, especially introducing them to archival sources.


Ph.D., A.M., History, Brown University

B.A., Wellesley College


“Introduction: Roundtable on Women and Missionary Encounters with Foreign Nationalism in the 1920s,” Diplomatic History (forthcoming December 2018).

“Dazzling Visions: American Women, Race, and the Imperialist Origins of Modern Nursing in Cuba, 1898-1916,” Nursing History Review 26:1 (January 2018), pp. 116-137.

“New Women, American Imperialism, and Anti-Colonial Nationalism: The Politics of Dress in Philippine Mission Stations, 1898-1940,” in Women in Transnational History: Gendering the Local and Global, ed. Clare Midgley (New York: Routledge, 2016).

“Bibles, Baseball, and Butterfly Sleeves: Filipina Women and American Protestant Missions, 1900-1930,” in Paradoxes of Domesticity: Christian Missionaries and Women in Asia and the Pacific, eds. Hyaeweol Choi and Margaret Jolly (Canberra: Australia National University Press, 2014).

“‘A Delicate Subject’: Clemencia López, Civilized Womanhood, and the Politics of Anti-Imperialism,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 20:2 (April 2013).

“‘Stepmother America’: The Woman’s Board for Missions in the Philippines, 1902-1930,” in Competing Kingdoms: Women, Mission, Nation, and American Empire, 1918-1938, eds. Barbara Reeves-Ellington, Connie Shemo, and Kathryn Kish Sklar (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010).

“How Did Women Sculptors Contribute to and Draw Support from the Antislavery and Woman’s Rights Movements, 1855-1875?” in Women and Social Movements in the United States, eds. Thomas Dublin and Kathryn Kish Sklar (December 2008).

At Home in the Studio: The Professionalization of Women Artists in America.  Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

Blog Posts

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    “Women, Filipinization, and Protestant Missions, 1898-1937,” to be presented to the Organization of American Historians, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. April 2019. 

    “Intelligent Motherhood: Maternal Care and Education at a Mission Hospital in the Philippines, 1906-1940,” to be presented at “Practicing Power in the Global Asia-Pacific: Environments, Migrants and Womanhood” Symposium at Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan. December 2018.

    Laura Prieto

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