Press Release - Catherine Allgor Named The Huntington's Director of Education

November 05, 2012


Catherine Allgor (Courtesy Franz Moeller)

SAN MARINO, Calif.—Following a national search, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens has named Catherine Allgor, Ph.D., its Nadine and Robert A. Skotheim Director of Education. Allgor is an acclaimed professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. She joins the Huntington staff Feb. 1, 2013.


Allgor takes the helm from Susan Lafferty, who stepped down from her position in August to pursue a doctoral degree in education.


Allgor has been at UCR since 2001 and has established herself as a leading historian of first ladies. She is known for her scholarly work on Dolley Madison, Abigail Adams, and Louisa Adams, among others, and is a frequent commentator on television and in other media on issues having to do with the role of the first lady. Her 2006 book, A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation, served as the basis for the film “Dolley Madison,” produced by PBS for its American Experience series.


“The education program at The Huntington is at a pivotal point,” says Huntington president Steve Koblik. “We find ourselves in the enviable position of having a spectacularly talented education team doing some very exciting, innovative work. Catherine comes to us with key insights into education, and with high energy, creativity, and the drive to take us to the next level.”


At The Huntington, Allgor will be responsible for nearly 20 staff members working on a range of projects, from school tours to teacher training to school partnerships with the Pasadena Unified and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. She will also oversee more than a thousand volunteers, including 400 docents who provide enrichment for students and adult visitors touring the art, botanical, and library collections as well as select temporary exhibitions.


"I am proud and honored to be joining an institution as distinguished as The Huntington Library,” she said. “Education is at the heart of The Huntington's mission, and I look forward to building on the amazing work of Sue Lafferty and her staff.”


Allgor’s accomplishments at UCR are numerous; most recently she held a three-year UC Presidential Chair appointment, from 2009 to 2012, given only to select, distinguished members of the university's faculty. In her position, she has created and taught numerous courses on women’s history, American history, the history of race and slavery, and political history at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Beyond campus, Allgor has worked in various Southern California school districts, leading teacher workshops to improve teaching focusing on new trends in history, education, and innovative teaching techniques.


She frequently is called on to participate in teacher training institutes nationwide, has consulted at numerous museums, and has provided advice to the White House, the U.S. Mint, and the National Portrait Gallery, among others. In addition, she serves on the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation, a presidential commission that funds teachers in their pursuit of advanced degrees.


Before joining the faculty at Riverside, Allgor taught at Claremont McKenna College, Harvard University, and Simmons College. She began her career as an actor and interpreter at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass., where, in historical character, she worked as a first-person interpreter.


She holds an associate degree in theatre arts from Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Penn., a bachelor’s degree in history from Mt. Holyoke College, and two master’s degrees and a doctorate in history from Yale University.  


Contacts:  Susan Turner-Lowe, 626-405-2147,
                    Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260,


# # #

About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

Read More