Director Christopher M.B. Allison, PhD
Christopher M.B. Allison, PhD

(708) 524-6677
Recent Publications and Dominican Directory Record.

PhD, History of American Civilization, Harvard University
MA, History, Harvard University
MA, American Religious History, Yale Divinity School
BS, Social Sciences Education, Olivet Nazarene University

Christopher Allison is a historian of American religious history, with a particular specialty in early American material and visual culture. He is the second director of the Sister Mary Nona McGreal, OP, Center for Dominican Historical Studies, and affiliate faculty in the history department. He comes to Dominican from the University of Chicago, where he was Collegiate Assistant Professor of the Humanities, Harper & Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows for the Liberal Arts, and affiliate faculty in the history and art history departments from 2017–2020. He was trained as a historian of early American history, from contact to 1877 (the end of reconstruction), with a specialty in American religious history, African American history, material and visual culture, and digital humanities. He splits his time working for the McGreal Center and teaching in the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences as affiliate faculty in the history department, where he teaches American history courses. In his capacities at the McGreal Center, under the division of Mission and Ministry, he leads a historical center devoted to the history of the Dominican Order in the United States, which includes an archive and an active research agenda, supporting the study of the Order of Preachers in the United States from the eighteenth century to the present. McGreal sponsors a publication series called OPUS, and is a resource for the whole Dominican family to preserve, tell, and innovate, so we can relate the stories of Dominicans in the United States, and serve the broader community of scholars of American religion and the wider public.

He received his PhD in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University in 2017, an AM in History from Harvard in 2013. Before that, he received a M.A.R. in American Religious History from Yale Divinity School in 2010, and a B.S. in Social Sciences Education from Olivet Nazarene University in 2006. He has received fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, Yale University, Harvard University, the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at Notre Dame, and more. He is also a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library in Chicago. He has published on a diversity of topics, such as portraiture in early American history painting, Catholic relics and material culture found in the early settlement of Jamestown, teaching with collections, theoretical approaches to the material culture of the body, early Mormon women, Quaker collecting, transatlantic religious intellectual exchange, and English pottery and celebrity culture, among others. He is also active as a curator and in digital scholarship, producing videos and exhibitions on material culture, the history of Harvard Divinity School, the contemporary legacy of the slogan "Well-behaved women seldom make history," and how to study objects.

He has a forthcoming book under contract with University of Chicago Press on sacred material culture and the body in early America.

Archivist Aaron Reisberg, MLIS
Aaron Reisberg, MLIS

(708) 524-6546

Aaron Reisberg holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Dominican University, with a Certificate in Archives and Cultural Heritage Resources and Services. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English and Religious Studies from Bradley University in Peoria, Ilinois.

Aaron oversees the maintenance, preservation, and access of the McGreal Center’s collections. His detailed work includes building finding aids, crafting policies and forms, performing research requests, and managing the organization and digitization of materials. He supervises student workers, interns, and volunteers in preserving and promoting archives that explore the history of the Order of Preachers in the United States. Aaron is passionate about sharing his knowledge and providing access to unique manuscripts and artifacts. He views the Center’s Archives as a lab to train students that are interested in entering the profession. His supervisory philosophy is driven by a strong belief in preparing students for success after college. By educating students on the best use of tools, technologies, and practices, his intention is to aid both in their career and self-growth. 

Aaron previously served as both Museum Attendant and Assistant Archivist at the Skokie Heritage Museum, where he created exhibits, led tours, and preserved collections related to the Village’s history. He volunteered with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and co-developed an institutional archives. 

His interests include digital content management and access, coding, and historical education. Additionally, Aaron enjoys writing, drawing, and exploring nature.

Brigid Crawley

Graduate Research and Archives Assistant

Brigid Crawley is a graduate student working toward a Master of Library and Information Science and a Certificate in Archives and Cultural Heritage Resources and Services. She holds a Master of Arts in Art History from Wayne State University, Detroit, and a Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago.

Her work at the McGreal Center includes the preservation, digitization, and creation of research tools for the special collections.

She seeks to combine her art historical background with library studies to work in a museum or special collections library. Her interests include preserving and facilitating access to rare materials and thinking critically about cataloging and interdisciplinary research.

Sofia Shelley

Graduate Research and Archives Assistant

Sofia Shelley is a graduate student in the library and information science program at Dominican University. She specializes in archives and cultural heritage resources and services.

Sofia also has MA and BA degrees in art history and enjoys applying her knowledge of world history and cross cultural research experience in her work at the McGreal Center and behind the reference desk at the Rebecca Crown library. As a research and archives assistant, Sofia dedicates her time to finding new and more efficient ways of digitizing and updating the McGreal Center's audiovisual archives. Sofia is an involved information professional who is passionate about collections-based research and preservation and conservation policy and practice.

After graduating in Fall 2021, Sofia will continue working as collection management assistant at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.

Graduate History Curatorial Fellow Katelyn Kuchler
Katelyn Kuchler

Graduate History Curatorial Fellow

Kate Kuchler is a graduate student in the Master of Library and Information Science program at Dominican University. She received a Bachelor of Arts in history from Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. Kate curates public history exhibits and is currently developing the Dominican University Historic Architecture Project. Her interests include religious archives, historic preservation, historic architecture, and public history. Kate volunteers with the Norwood Park Historical Society in Chicago and is in her second year in the MLIS program.

Marybeth Cave

Graduate Digital Content Developer

Marybeth Cave is a graduate student in the Master of Library and Information Science program at Dominican University. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art in theatre design and technology from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. Marybeth is developing the backend and workflow processes for the Sacred Spaces Architecture Project. Her interests include theatre and arts preservation, book arts, digital archives, and architecture preservation. She is in her final year and will graduate with an MLIS as well as certificates in Digital Curation and Archival Studies.

Olivia Mullenax

Graduate Institutional Legacy Research Fellow

Olivia Mullenax is a graduate student in the library and information science program at Dominican University. She received two Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and art history from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Olivia's work includes the archival research for and preparation of an upcoming exhibit and book about the history of Dominican University. Her interests include decolonizing information structures, public history, information literacy, and archival research. Olivia works in Access Services at North Central College and this is her first year in the MLIS program.

Salma Rios

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research Fellow

Salma Rios is a first year graduate student pursuing a MLIS degree with a certificate in Archives and Cultural Heritage Resources and Services. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 2021 with a BA in History with Honors, a minor in Latino/a Studies, and certificates in Writing and Museum Studies. Previous works include a senior thesis entitled Man, Myth, Legend: The Many Faces of Thomas More.

Archives Volunteer Sister Beth Meegan, OP
Sister Beth Meegan, OP

Archives Volunteer

Archives Volunteer Ruth Bulinski
Ruth Bulinski

Archives Volunteer

Advisory Board

Jeffrey Burns
Patricia Carroll
Anna Donnelly, OP
Sister Marie Michelle Hackett, OP
Darra Mulderry
Claire Noonan
Liesl Orenic
Jill O’Brien, OP
Cecilia Salvatore
Sister Connie Schoen, OP
Father Michael Winkels, OP
Father David Wright, OP