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Henry C. Binford

Professor Emeritus

Ph.D., Harvard, 1973
Curriculum Vitae


Principal Research Interest(s):  U.S. Urban History; 19th Century Social, Cultural, Economic History; History of Technology


Henry C. Binford (Ph.D., Harvard, 1973) is a social historian of the 19th century United States. He is particularly interested in urbanization and city growth. Much of his work deals with urban sub-communities such as suburbs, industrial areas, and “slums.” He seeks to understand both how such areas functioned as elements of urban growth and how they were perceived by the people who lived and worked in them.

Affiliated Programs


  • From Improvement to City Planning: Spatial Management in Cincinnati from the Early Republic through the Civil War Decade (Philadelphia, 2021)
  • The First Suburbs: Residential Communities on the Boston Periphery, 1815-1860 (Chicago, 1985).
  • “Multicentered Chicago,” Interpretive Essay in James R. Grossman, et al. (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Chicago (Chicago, 2004).
  • Tenements,” in Grossman, et al., The Encyclopedia of Chicago (Chicago, 2004).
  • “Slums,” in Paul S. Boyer (ed.), The Oxford Companion to American History (NewYork: Oxford University Press, 2001), 719-720.

Teaching Interests


  • Development of Cities.
  • The History of Chicago.
  • The Cultural/Intellectual Background of the Problem of Poverty.


  • U.S. Urban History.

Recent Awards and Honors

  • 2019    E. LeRoy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • 2013: Career Achievement Award, Northwestern University Black Alumni Association.
  • 2005: Outstanding Affiilate Award, Northwestern Department of African American Studies.
  • 1999: Outstanding Faculty Member Award from the Northwestern University Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Pan-Hellenic Association.
  • 1998: National Faculty Award from the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs.
  • 1998-2001: Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence 1996 Northwestern University Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching.