History and Art History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Daniel Gifford

Daniel Gifford

Daniel Gifford

Assistant Professor

U.S. History: American popular and visual culture, holidays and leisure, advertising, fairs and expositions

Daniel Gifford's career spans teaching at George Mason University, museum curation and administration (including several years with the Smithsonian Institution), public history outreach, and both print and online publishing. His first book, American Holiday Postcards 1905-1915: Imagery and Context, was published by McFarland Press in 2013, and examines deep divides at the height of the Progressive Era as expressed through holidays and holiday imagery. He is a frequent writer and lecturer on American culture, including the history of American holidays; philanthropy and charity in America; the evolution of environmental advocacy; and popular culture in American history. His expertise has been featured in numerous interviews and articles including the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, USA Today, Slate Magazine, Time, Bloomberg L.P., Cronkite News, Pacific Standard, and Smithsonian Magazine. He is an alumnus of the Department of History and Art History where he received both his Masters and Ph.D. 

Dr. Gifford has most recently overseen the required "American Cultures" course for INTO George Mason's first-year international students. His focus as a cultural historian can be seen in the course's four themes: “What is American Culture?”; “Identity and Consumption in American Culture”; “Diversity, Unity, and Division in American Culture”; “American Rights and the Struggle for Equality.” His course offerings through the Department have included "American History through its Holidays" and "Travel and Tourism in America's 20th Century."

His current research retraces the voyage of the Bark Progress from New Bedford, Massachusetts to the Chicago World’s Fair, and explores questions of commemoration, historical memory, and what it means to transform a dying industry into “a museum piece.”