Brian Whetstone

Lecturer in Effron Center for the Study of America
Princeton-Mellon / SPIA in New Jersey Fellow

Ph.D., UMass Amherst

B.A., Hastings College


Brian Whetstone is a public historian and scholar of late-twentieth century U.S. urban history. His research focuses on the intersection between the post-1966 U.S. historic preservation movement and twentieth-century urban political economy. His monograph, To Bring the Inner City Back to Life: Historic Preservation's Urban Politics, 1966-1986, examines how preservationists engaged with urban decline after 1966. Combining oral histories, architectural and material culture investigation, and archival research, it explores how preservationists emerged as significant political actors in the rightward shift in municipal governance of the late twentieth century.

Whetstone completed his Ph.D. in History with a certificate in Public History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and B.A. in History from Hastings College. He is a member of the National Council on Public History where he serves on the organization's Membership Committee and serves on a board-led organization of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Foundation in Hadley, Massachusetts where he assists in the stabilization and preservation of the foundation's early-nineteenth century farmstead.

In Spring 2024, Whetstone will offer the course “Commemoration, Crisis, and Revolution in the City,” where students will explore the struggles over the meaning and utility of the American Revolution while developing a digital exhibition detailing ongoing commemoration(s) in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the events of 1776 in 2026.

Whetstone’s fellowship is made possible through the support of the Mellon Foundation, the School of Public and International Affairs, the Program for Community Engaged Scholarship (ProCES), the Effron Center for the Study of America, and the Department of History.