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Phil Bean, a native of Utica, earned a B.A. from Union College, a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. He is the author of The Urban Colonists:  Italian American Identity and Politics in Utica, New York (Syracuse University Press, 2010), as well as articles on immigration and New York State political history. 

He was a lecturer in history at Hamilton in 1993-96; thereafter, he began an administrative career at Harvard, where he was also appointed lecturer in History and Literature. For 20 years he was a dean, first at Harvard and then at Haverford College. He also served in 2000-05 as an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of New York State (Syracuse University Press, 2005). 

In the fall of 2021, Bean returned to Hamilton as a Levitt Center Fellow. He currently serves as Vice President of the Utica Public Library’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Olmsted City Committee of the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica. 

Recent Courses Taught

Utica in U.S. History

Select Publications

  • Choosing a Practical Major,” New York Times, “The Choice” education blog, April 16, 2013 (online)
  • The Urban Colonists: Italian American Identity and Politics in Utica, New York, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2010.
  • “Watchdogs of the State,” New York Archives, 7 (1), Summer 2007, 24-28.
  • “Leftists, Ethnic Nationalism, and the Evolution of Italian-American Identity and Politics in Utica’s Colonia,” New York History, 87 (4), Fall 2006, 423-474.
  • “Good Americans: Italians and Jewish Immigrants during the First World War” (book review), New York History, 87 (3), Summer 2006, 383-86.
  • Ethnic Utica, James Pula, ed., Utica: Ethnic Heritage Studies Center, 2005. Contributor of entries on the Italians and Germans, and co-author of essay on the Irish.
  • “‘Sunny Jim’ Sherman and the Eclipse of the Upstate Republican Bosses,” New York History, 86 (1), Winter 2005, 51-96.
  • Encyclopedia of New York State, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005. Associate Editor for European Immigration History and contributor of entries on German immigration, Italian immigration, and the
    general history of immigration to New York State in the period 1820-1924.
  • “Migration and Ethnic Development,” in Donald E. White, ed., Exploring 200 Years of Oneida County History, Utica: Oneida County Historical Society, 1998 (45-58).
  • “The Anatomy of Immigrant Strikes: A Comparison of Polish and Italian Textile Workers in Central New York,” with James S. Pula, Polish Review, XLI (3), 1996, 273-92.
  • “Utica in the Fifties: A Community Transformed,” Utica: Oneida County Historical Society, 1996 (24 p: ill.), produced in conjunction with historical exhibition, “Utica in the Fifties,” at the Oneida County
    Historical Society.
  • “The Irish, the Italians, and Machine Politics, A Case Study: Utica, New York (1870-1960),” Journal of Urban History, 20 (2), February 1994, 205-39.

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

B.A., Union College
B.A., Oxford University
M.A., Oxford University
M.A., University of Rochester
Ph.D., University of Rochester

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