Cliff Putney

  • Associate Professor, History
  • Ph.D. Brandeis University
  • M.Div. Harvard Divinity School
  • BA Hampshire College
  • Office: Adamian Academic Center - 121 | 781.891.2285 | cputney@bentley.edu
  • Department Phone: 781.891.3157 | Department Fax: 781.891.2896

Teaching Interests

19th-Century U.S. History;
20th-Century U.S. History;
Colonial American History;
Civil War History;
World History--General

Research Interests

U.S. History--General;
American Religious History;
Gilded Age/Progressive Era History

Bio

Fields of specialization include U.S. cultural, religious, gender and recreational history, and the history of the Progressive Era. In addition to teaching U.S. and world history, he has spoken at various academic conferences and published a number of historical books and articles. He is currently writing a book about missionaries to the Pacific region. He has received a number of fellowships and grants, including a Brandeis Crown Fellowship, a Smithsonian Fellowship, and an American Philosophical Society Research Grant.

Professional Memberships

  • American Historical Association Present
  • New England Historical Association 2011 - Present
  • Congregational Library 2007 - Present
  • Organization of American Historians 2018
  • American Society of Church History 2000 - 2015
  • Historical Society 2000 - 2015
  • Awards and Honors

  • 2015, Presidency, New England Historical Association
  • 2014, Vice-Presidency, New England Historical Association (NEHA)
  • 2008, Bentley College Gregory H. Adamian Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • 2006, Bentley College Class of 2006 "Most Animated" Faculty Member Award
  • 2005, Bentley College Class of 2005 "Most Popular Faculty or Staff Member" Award
  • 2004, Bentley College Greek Council "Outstanding Faculty Member" Award
  • 1994, Brandeis Dissertational Writing Fellowship
  • 1993, Brandeis Crown Fellowship
  • 1992, Smithsonian Graduate Student Fellowship
  • 1988, Hampshire Congregational Association Scholarship
  • 1988, Leopold Schepp Foundation Scholarship
  • Publications

    Journal Articles


  • Putney, C. W. (2019). Harry Clark Bentley: A Pioneering Accountant and the Founder of Bentley University, 1877-1967. Historical Journal of Massachusetts, (Winter 2019) 182-207.
  • Putney, C. W., Pratt, M., , ., , . (2017). A Vision and a Leap of Faith: The History of Bentley University, 1917-2017. Bentley Magazine, (Centennial Issue) 11-16.
  • Putney, C. W. (2011). Luther Gulick: His Contributions to Springfield College, the YMCA, and 'Muscular Christianity'. Historical Journal of Massachusetts, (39) 1-2 144-169.
  • Putney, C. W. (2006). Friends House's First Directors, Wesley and October Frost. Beacon Hill Friends House Newsletter. Fall 7-8.
  • Putney, C. W. (2004). Oxenbridge Thacher: Boston Lawyer, Early Patriot. Historical Journal of Massachusetts, (32) 1 90-106.
  • Putney, C. W. (2003). God vs. Sugar: The Gulick Brothers' Fight against King Kamehameha V and the Sugar Planters in Hawaii, 1864-1870. Hawaiian Journal of History, (37) 63-89.
  • Putney, C. W. (2001). The Legacy of the Gulicks, 1827-1964. International Bulletin of Missionary Research, (25) 1 28-35.
  • Putney, C. W. (1995). Shifting Fortunes of a Mainline Parish: The Case of First Church, Amherst. Prism, (9) 1 71-85.
  • Putney, C. W. (1994). Men and Religion: Aspects of the Church Brotherhood Movement, 1880-1920. Anglican and Episcopal History, (63) 4 451-467.
  • Putney, C. W. (1993). Service Over Secrecy: How Lodgestyle Fraternalism Yielded Popularity to Men's Service Clubs. Journal of Popular Culture, (27) 1 179-190.
  • Putney, C. W. (1993). Going Upscale: The YMCA and Postwar America, 1950-1980. Journal of Sport History, (20) 2 151-166.
  • Putney, C. W. (1991). Changing Conceptions of Fatherhood in Early Victorian America. Retrospection, (4) 1 1-18.
  • Putney, C. W. (1991). Character Building in the YMCA, 1880-1930. Mid-America, (73) 1 49-70.

    Books


  • Putney, C. W., Burlin, P. T. (2012). The Role of the American Board in the World: Bicentennial Reflections on the Organization's Missionary Work, 1810-2010. Eugene, Oregon: WIPF & Stock
  • Putney, C. W. (2010). Missionaries in Hawai'i: The Lives of Peter and Fanny Gulick, 1797-1883. 272. Amherst, Mass: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Putney, C. W., Spencer, S. (2007). A Jubilee History, Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Beacon Hill Friends House (1957-2007). 136. Boston, Mass: The House
  • Putney, C. W. (2001). Muscular Christianity: Manhood and Sports in Protestant America, 1880-1920. 300. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press

  • Book Chapters


  • Putney, C. W. (2015). The Missionary Gulicks: The Family Behind the Friendship Dolls In , (Eds.) The Sun Shines for Us All: The Friendship Dolls from Japan. 19-29. Valparaiso, Indiana: Brauer Museum, Valparaiso University
  • Putney, C. W. (2012). Overview of the ABCFM In Rodney Petersen, (Eds.) From Ordination and Commissioning to Harbor Sailing. 8-9. Boston Theological Institute
  • Putney, C. W. (2004). Service over Secrecy: How Lodge-Style Fraternalism Yielded to Men's Service Clubs In Hoyos, Arturo de, Morris, S. Brent, (Eds.) . 105-115. New York: Lexington Books
  • Putney, C. W. (1997). From Character to Body Building: The YMCA and the Suburban Metropolis, 1950-1980 In Mjagkij, Nina, Spratt, Margaret, (Eds.) . New York, NY: New York University Press

  • Book Reviews


  • Putney, C. W. (2019). [Review of the book Hawaiian by Birth: Missionary Children, Bicultural Identity, and U.S. Colonialism in the Pacific ]. Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth.
  • Putney, C. W. (2014). [Review of the book Christian Masculinity: Men and Religion in Northern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries ]. Church History, (83) 1
  • Putney, C. W. (2012). [Review of the book Lottie Moon: A Southern Baptist Missionary to China in History and Legend ]. American Historical Review, (117) 4
  • Putney, C. W. (2011). [Review of the book Fraternities in US History ]. Journal of the History of Children and Youth, (4) 3
  • Putney, C. W. (2010). [Review of the book Creating the College Man: American Mass Magazines and Middle-Class Manhood, 1890-1915 ]. American Historical Review, (115) 5
  • Putney, C. W. (2010). [Review of the book American Missionaries, Christian Oyatoi, and Japan, 1859-73 ]. International Bulletin of Missionary Research, (34) 2
  • Putney, C. W. (2009). [Review of the book Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion ]. BTI Magazine, (9) 1
  • Putney, C. W. (2008). [Review of the book Disasters, Accidents and Crises in American History: A Reference Guide to the Nation's Most Catastrophic Events ]. Journal of Popular Culture, (41) 6
  • Putney, C. W. (2006). [Review of the book Making Men, Making Class: The YMCA and Workingmen, 1877-1920 ]. Men and Masculinities, (8) 3
  • Putney, C. W. (2005). [Review of the book Stewards of the Land: The American Farm School and Greece in the Twentieth Century ]. Journal of American Culture, (28) 3
  • Putney, C. W. (2005). [Review of the book Sports in Zion: Mormon Recreation, 1890-1940 ]. American Historical Review, (110) 1
  • Putney, C. W. (2004). [Review of the book Occupy until I Come: A. T. Pierson and the Evengelization of the World ]. NEHA News: Newsletter of the New England Historical Association. April (Link)
  • Putney, C. W. (2004). [Review of the book Religious Pluralism in America: The Contentious History of a Founding Ideal ]. Journal of American Culture, (27) 3
  • Putney, C. W. (2002). [Review of the book Nothing but Christ: Rufus Anderson and the Ideology of Protestant Foreign Missions ]. Journal of Presbyterian History, (80) 3
  • Putney, C. W. (2002). [Review of the book Football: The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession ]. H-Net. July
  • Putney, C. W. (2002). [Review of the book Building Character in the Boy Scouts ]. Reviews in American History, (30) 2
  • Putney, C. W. (1994). [Review of the book Sport and Religion ]. International Journal of the History of Sport, (11) 2
  • Putney, C. W. (1991). [Review of the book Manhood in the American Renaissance ]. Retrospection, (4) 2
  • Putney, C. W. (). [Review of the book Island Queens and Mission Wives: How Gender and Empire Remade Hawaii's Pacific World ]. Historian. Forthcoming.

  • Conference Papers


  • Putney, C. W. (2012). Overview of the American BoardBoston Theological Institute, American Culture and the Missonary Enterprise: Acknowledging the 200th Anniversary of the Judson Mission and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

  • Other(s)


  • Putney, C. W. (2020). NEHA News (2011-2020)New England Historical Association. 25 pages, roughly, per issue. (Link)
  • Presentations

  • Putney, C. W. (2021). “Missionaries in Hawaii, 1830-1850” Presented at the George Mason University Podcast on Hawaiian History Fairfax, VA (Virtual)
  • Putney, C. W. (2021). “The History of Diversity and Inclusion at Bentley University” Presented at the Bentley Learning Council Address to the Bentley Community Virtual
  • Putney, C. W. (2021). “The History of Bentley” Presented at the Bentley University Address to Bentley Alumni Virtual
  • Putney, C. W. (2021). “Harry Clark Bentley, the Founder of Bentley University” Presented at the Faculti (a scholarly collective) Faculti Interview (Faculti=Scholarly Collective) Virtual
  • Putney, C. W. (2020). “Quakerism--History and Practice” Presented at the Bentley University Sociology Department Prof. Miriam Boeri's Sociology of Religion Class Waltham (Virtual)
  • Putney, C. W. (2020). “Reflections on the Phenomenon of Muscular Christianity” Presented at the King's College, NYC King's College Religious Forum, Hosted by Anthony Bradley New York City (Virtual)
  • Putney, C. W. (2020). “Teaching History through Games: A 25-Year Retrospective” Presented at the New England Historical Association NEHA Spring Conference Sacred Heart University (Virtual)
  • Putney, C. W. (2019). “The Salem Witchcraft Trials, Redux”
  • Putney, C. W. (2018). “"Muscular Christianity--Q. & A."” Presented at the Salem State University/Prof. Brad Austin Sports History Class--Graduate Level Salem, MA
  • Putney, C. W. (2018). “The Salem Witchcraft Trials”
  • Putney, C. W. (2016). “Muscular Christianity and Christian Science” Presented at the Mary Baker Eddy Library Spiritual Intersections in Boston History Boston, MA
  • Putney, C. W. (2016). “Congregational Roots of Middlebury College” Presented at the New England Historical Association NEHA Spring Conference Middlebury, VT
  • Putney, C. W. (2015). “"Fifty Years of NEHA"” Presented at the New England Historical Association 50th Anniversary Conference of the New England Historical Association New Haven, CT
  • Putney, C. W. (2015). “"A Brief Overview of Bentley's History"” Presented at the Bentley University Centennial Steering Committee Kickoff Prudential Center, Boston
  • Putney, C. W. (2014). “"Obtaining Collegiate Status in Massachusetts after World War II: The Case of the Bentley School"” Presented at theSpring Conference of the New England Historical Association Springfield, MA
  • Putney, C. W. (2014). “"Connecticut and Hawai'i: The Missionary Connection"” Presented at the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education Missionary Legacies Conference Hartford, CT
  • Putney, C. W. (2013). “"'The Man Who Works Is the Man Who Wins': Reflections on the Life and Work of Harry Clark Bentley, the Founder of Bentley University"” Presented at the New England Historical Association Fall Conference of the New England Historical Association Hartford, CT
  • Putney, C. W. (2012). “Overview of the American Board” Presented at the Boston Theological Institute American Culture and the Missonary Enterprise: Acknowledging the 200th Anniversary of the Judson Mission and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Cambridge and Salem, Massachusetts
  • Putney, C. W. (2012). “Commentary on papers for a missionary history panel” Presented at the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association Annual Conference of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association San Diego, California
  • Putney, C. W. (2012). “Commentary on papers for a missionary history panel” Presented at the New England Historical Association Fall Conference of the New England Historical Association North Andover, Massachusetts
  • Putney, C. W. (2011). “An Analysis of the American Board: the Country's First Sponsor of Overseas Missions” Presented at theFall Conference of the New England Historical Association Boston, Mass.
  • Putney, C. W. (2011). “Luther Gulick, Springfield College, and the YMCA Triangle” Presented at theSpring Conference of the New England Historical Association Worcester, Mass.
  • Putney, C. W. (2010). “Introductory Remarks” Presented at the Bentley University, Boston Theological Institute, Congregational Library Conference on the Bicentennial of the American Board Boston, Mass.
  • Putney, C. W. (2010). “Luther Gulick and the 'Body-Mind-Spirit' Ideal” Presented at the Springfield College 125th Anniversary of Springfield College Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Putney, C. W. (2009). “The Missionary Gulicks: An Evangelical Dynasty” Presented at the International Institute International Institute Symposium Madrid, Spain
  • Putney, C. W. (2009). “Missionary Ranchers: The Work of the Gulicks in Wai-mea, O'ahu” Presented at theWorld History Association Conference Salem, Massachusetts
  • Putney, C. W. (2008). “Koloa, Kauai: Hawaii's First Company Town” Presented at thePacific Conference, American West Center Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Putney, C. W. (2007). “Voyaging to Hawaii: The Experience of Missionaries on the 'Parthian,' 1827-1828” Presented at thePopular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference Boston, Mass
  • Putney, C. W. (2006). “Muscular Christianity: The Legacy of the Gulicks” Presented at theYMCA General Assembly Nashville, Tennessee
  • Putney, C. W. (2005). “Why the Gulick Family Preserved Non-Christian Objects in Hawaii” Presented at theBoston Theological Institute Symposium Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Putney, C. W. (2003). “God vs. Sugar: The Gulick Brothers' Fight Against King Kamehameha V and the Sugar Planters in Hawaii, 1864-1870” Presented at theAmerican Historical Association Conference Chicago, IL
  • Putney, C. W. (2001). “The Adoption of Sports by the YMCA, 1851-1917” Presented at the150th-Anniversary Conference of the YMCA New Orleans, LA
  • Putney, C. W. (1999). “Images of Success: Advertisers' Idealizations of American Manhood, 1880-1930” Presented at theNew England Historical Association Conference Boston, MA
  • Putney, C. W. (1999). “The Missionary Gulicks: An Evangelical Dynasty, 1827-1964” Presented at theOverseas Ministries Study Center Research Colloquium Nashville, TN
  • Putney, C. W. (1994). “Men and Religion: Aspects of the YMCA Movement in North America” Presented at theOrganization of American Historians Conference Atlanta, GA
  • Putney, C. W. (1992). “Shifting Fortunes of a Mainline Parish: The Case of First Church, Amherst” Presented at thePopular Culture Association Conference Louisville, KY
  • Service

    Department Service


  • Committee Chair for History Paper Prize Committee 2007 - Present
  • University Service


  • Department Chair for History Department 2020 - Present
  • Committee Member for Focal Area 2 Governance Committee 2021 - 2021
  • Senate representative from the History Department for Faculty Senate 2018 - 2020
  • Faculty Senate Representative to FEPC for Faculty Evaluations and Procedures Committee 2018 - 2020
  • Committee Chair for Teaching and Scholarly Activities Committee 2016 - 2018
  • Committee Member for Centennial Steering Committee/Historical Subcommittee 2015 - 2017
  • Committee Member for Academic Integrity Board 2010 - 2015
  • Committee Chair for Curriculum Implementation Committee 2011 - 2014
  • Professional Service


  • External Reviewer for Misericordia University History Program 2022 - 2022
  • Editor, Journal for New England Historical Association 2011 - 2020