Carolyn Levy


Carolyn Levy joined the SMU Center for Presidential History in the fall of 2022. She received her dual-title PhD in History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the Pennsylvania State University in 2022, where her work received support from the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College and the Library Company of Philadelphia and Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Carolyn’s current project, “Benevolent Surveillance: Prison Matrons and Women’s Prison Reform in Nineteenth-Century America,” examines the development and implementation of reform efforts in the US women’s prison system from the revolutionary era through the 1870s. This project details the efforts of multiple prison reform organizations and benevolent societies in the United States, discuses the work of Elizabeth Fry who first imagined the role of the prison matron, and analyzes some of the earliest prison matrons in US prisons.

Carolyn is also committed to public history. She is currently engaged in several projects as an advisor to Rosine 2.0. Rosine 2.0 is an interdisciplinary collective of artists, harm reductionists, archivists, scholars, and community members involved in today’s street economies, specifically at the intersection of sex work and drug use. Working together with members of the Rosine 2.0 Collective, Carolyn is contributing to a book project and a library exhibit, to be completed in 2023. If you’d like to learn more about Rosine 2.0 please visit to learn more about their work!  

Carolyn is now the Instructional Consultant for Equity and Inclusion within the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Washington.