Dr. Lisa Pruitt Dr. Lisa Pruitt

Associate Professor

E-mail: lisa.pruitt@mtsu.edu
Phone: (615) 898-2051
Office Location and Mailing Address: Peck Hall, Room 224A
MTSU Box 193
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

FIELDS: Nineteenth-century US history, American religious history, American medical history, history of disability

BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT: I was born in Durant, Oklahoma, and grew up in the suburbs of Dallas. My two sisters and I were first-generation college graduates on both sides of our family. I paid for my undergraduate degree in English at the University of Texas at Dallas by working as a drive-through bank teller. I then entered the dual masters' program in history and library science at the University of Maryland. I worked as an archivist and special collections librarian at Oberlin College and Furman University before pursuing doctoral studies in history at Vanderbilt. My research interests have evolved over the years from the history of women and missions to the history of disability. I live in Smyrna, TN, with my two cats, Otis and Lizzie. I serve as a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Nashville, where I also teach and participate in choir and handbells.


  • History 2010 US History Survey to 1865
  • History 2020 US History Survey, 1865 to present
  • History 3010 Historian's Craft
  • History 4030/5030 Jacksonian America
  • History 4620/5620 American Medical History


  • History 6102/7102 Seminar: Readings in 19th Century American History
  • History 6104/7104 Topics in American History: Disability History
  • History 6105/7105 Seminar: Research in American History


"Living with Spina Bifida: A Historical Perspective," Pediatrics August 2012 130 (2): 181-183.

"Nineteenth-Century Health and Medicine," in American Centuries: The Issues, Ideas, and Trends that Made US History, Vol. IV: Nineteenth Century. Melody Gustafson, editor. ( NY: Facts on File, 2011), 161-167.

"A Looking-Glass for Ladies": American Protestant Women and the Orient in the Nineteenth Century (Mercer University Press, March 2005).


1998 Torbet Prize for Baptist History, American Baptist Historical Society for "Possessed of a 'Missionary Spirit'?: English Baptist Women and Bengali Missions from Dorothy Carey to the Baptist Zenana Mission, 1792-1914," American Baptist Quarterly XVII (December 1998) 4: 285-304.

2010-2013 Scholarly Works in Biomedicine Grant, National Library of Medicine ($146,000)


"Crippled": A History of Childhood Disability in America, 1860-1990 – Funded by a 3-year grant from the National Library of Medicine, this book manuscript examines the evolution of the concept of the "crippled child" in American history. It draws on the perspectives of orthopedic surgeons, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, charity workers, disability advocates, and parents, while keeping the experiences of the children central to the narrative.

"Non-Treatment Decision-making for Impaired Newborns in the Twentieth-Century United States and United Kingdom" examines the ways in which societal attitudes about disability governed treatment decisions for infants with myelomeningocele (spina bifida), placing that discussion in the context of related debates on treatment for infants with Down Syndrome and the broader subject of the ethics of neonatal intensive care.


1998, PhD, Vanderbilt University
1988, MA, University of Maryland
1988, MLS, University of Maryland
1986, BA, University of Texas at Dallas

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