Scholarly Books

Casey_PrettiestGirl, Cover (1)
The Prettiest Girl on Stage is a Man:

Race and Gender Benders in American Vaudeville  

                                          (University of Tennessee Press, 2015)                                                             

“Through its careful consideration of a range of sources, The Prettiest Girl on the Stage Is a Man powerfully demonstrates how the popular stage and its star performers simultaneously affirmed and exploded stereotypes of gender and race, often in the course of a single evening’s performance. The book will find a welcoming audience among U.S. cultural historians and students.”
Marlis Schweitzer, York University, Journal of American History, December 2016
“There is a treasure trove of untapped archival material… and Casey’s work signals a positive step in learning more about one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the United States.”

Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff, University of South Carolina, Journal of Southern History, May 2017

“Well-written and thoughtful, Casey’s fine book deserves attention.”
Leroy Ashby, Washington State University, Pacific Historical Review, May 2017

The Things She Carried: Women and the Power of the Purse

under contract with Oxford University Press

The Things She Carried argues that purses have functioned as versatile toolkits that provided women with a private, female-controlled space in a world where they rarely occupied public space on equal terms with men. Covering over 150 years, this book uses material artifacts, photographs, memoirs, diaries, newspaper articles, oral histories, advertisements and more to illustrate how generations of women (and some men) effectively deployed purses in their efforts to move from the margins of society to the middle. 

Three unidentified women wears heels and a modest dress cut slightly above the ankles, while the woman on the right manages to showcase her purse even though she is likely right-handed.
Taken in Greenville, Mississippi, Photographed by Rev. Henry Clay Anderson, circa 1955.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Object Number 2007.


Pickets, Protests, and Purses in the American Civil Rights Movement,” Gender and History, Wiley-Blackwell, June 2022.
“Sex, Savagery and the Woman Who Made Vaudeville Famous,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, University of Nebraska Press, Vol. 36, No. 1, March 2015.
“‘The Jewish Girl with a Colored Voice’: Sophie Tucker and the Sounds of Gender and Race in Modern America,” Journal of American Culture, Wiley Periodicals, Vol. 38, No. 1, March 2015.


“The Possibilities of Purses: Revealing New Histories of American Women,” Routledge Handbook on American Material Culture, ed. Kristin Hass, Forthcoming, 2022.

“This Sack So Full that it would bump against her knee”: Enslaved Women’s Use of Sacks in Antebellum America,” chapter in Pouches, Pockets and Secret Drawers, Brill, Autumn 2023. Anna Jamieson, Naomi Segal, and James Brown, eds.


Review of David Monod, Vaudeville and the Making of Modern Entertainment, 1895-1925 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2020) for Journal of American History, vol. 108, no. 4, March 2022, 851-852.
Review of Clothing and Fashion in Southern History, edited by Ted Ownby and Becca Walton (University Press of Mississippi, 2020) for Journal of Southern History, vol. 87, no. 2., May 2021, 350-351.
Review of Marina Dahlquist, Exporting Perilous Pauline: Pearl White and the Serial Film Craze (Alexander Street Press, 2013) for Women and Social Movements, vol. 18, no. 1, March 2014.

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