Christopher Carlsmith is a Professor of History at UMass Lowell.

Christopher Carlsmith, Ph.D.


College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Dugan Hall - 106


Early Modern Europe, Renaissance Italy, Western Civilization

Research Interests

Early Modern European History, 1400-1650; Italian Renaissance History and Art; History of Education, esp. History of Italian Universities; History of Childhood, 1200-1700; Renaissance Revival in America, 1850-1920


  • Ph D: History, (1999), University of Virginia - Charlottesville, Va.
  • MA: History, (1995), University of Virginia - Charlottesville, Va.
  • BA: History, (1986), Stanford University - Palo Alto, Calif.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • "Pillars of Excellence" Transformational Educational Award (2018) - UML Office of the Provost
  • Faculty Mentoring Award (with Distinction) (2018), Teaching - UML Faculty Honors Committee
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellow (2009) - Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Center for Study of the Italian Renaissance
  • Exceeding Expectations Faculty Award (2006), Teaching - UML Student Government Association
  • Faculty Award (2005), Teaching - UML Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
  • Mentor of the Year (2005), Teaching - UML Honors Program
  • Exceeding Expectations Faculty Award (2004), Teaching - UML Student Government Association
  • Teaching Award (2003), Teaching - UML History Department
  • Italian Fulbright Scholar (1996) - Fulbright Program

Selected Publications

  • Carlsmith, C. (2022). Save Venice Inc.: American Philanthropy and Art Conservation in Italy, 1966-2021 (University of Massachusetts Press). [see details below]
  • Carlsmith, C. (2021). "Trends in the History of Medieval and Early Modern Education in HEQ". History of Education Quarterly. 61/2 (pp. 150-57).
  • Carlsmith, C. (2019). The Three R's: Education in Early Modern Rome (pp. 485-499). Brill
  • Carlsmith, C. (2018). Education in Sixteenth-Century Europe (pp. 22-29). Cambridge University Press
  • Carlsmith, C. (2018). Student Scuffles: Academic Violence in Late Medieval and Early Modern Bologna (pp. 207-226). Lexington Press
  • Carlsmith, C. (2017). Quarrels Under the Portico: Student Violence in Early Modern Italian Universities (pp. 39-53). Routledge
  • Carlsmith, C. (2017). The Sneddens at Stanford University, 1894-1934. Sandstone and Tile,41(3) 3-19.
  • Carlsmith, C. (2017). Locations for Children: Schools and Orphanages in Bergamo and Bologna in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Journal of Theories of Research and Education,12(1).
  • Carlsmith, C. (2016). Collegiate Conflict: Two Brawls in Bologna between the Collegio Di Spagna and the Collegio Montalto, 1672-73. Annali di storia delle universita italiane,20(1) 47-63.
  • Carlsmith, C. (2015). Venice in Boston: Wall Murals at the Ames-Webster Mansion (pp. 26-29). Historic New England
  • Carlsmith, C. (2013). A Roman Poet in the Venetian Republic: The Reception of Horace in Sixteenth-Century Bergamo. Sixteenth Century Journal,44(4) 963 - 984.
  • Carlsmith, C. (2013). An Architect by the Bay: John H. Powers and the Firm Powers & Ahnden of San Francisco. Argonaut,24(2) 54 - 86.
  • Carlsmith, C. (2013). Student Conflict in the 'Brevis Relatio' of the Hungarian-Illyrian College, 1675 (pp. 325-336). Leo S. Olschki
  • Carlsmith, C., Fouroughi, L. (2013). 'To Live Piously and to Help the Needy Poor': The Consortium of S. Alessandro in Colonna, in Bergamo. Confraternitas,24(2) 3-32.
  • Carlsmith, C. (2012). 'Cacciò fuori un grande bastone bianco': Conflict between the Collegio Ancarano and the Seminarians in Early Modern Bologna (pp. 191-216). Le Lettere
  • Carlsmith, C. (2012). Siam Ungari!: Honour, Nationalism, and Student Conflict in Seventeenth-Century Bologna. History of Universities,25(2) 113 - 149.
  • Carlsmith, C. (2006). Mocking Pope and Preacher: Popular Propaganda in the Age of Reformation. Teaching History: A Journal of Methods,31(1) 3 - 18.
  • Carlsmith, C. (2002). Struggling Towards Success: Jesuit Education in Italy, 1540Ð1600. History of Education Quarterly,42(2) 215.

Selected Presentations

  • Renaissance Venetian Ceilings in American Homes - UML Alumni Association, Homecoming, October 2020 - Lowell
  • Public History and the Example of Save Venice Inc., September 2019 - Morgantownm WV
  • RSA Fellowships: What You Ought to Know - Renaissance Society of America (RSA), annual meeting, March 2019 - Toronto
  • Anne J. Schutte: Scholar, Mentor, Historian - Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, November 2018 - Albequerque, NM
  • The Borders of Bergamo: Innovation and Exchange in Early Modern Italy - Renaissance Society of America (RSA), annual meeting, April 2018 - New Orleans
  • "Learning Abroad: International Student Colleges in Italy, 1500-1700" - Kennedy Center for International Studies, BYU, March 2017
  • "From Near and Far: Student Colleges in Early Modern Rome" - Renaissance Society of America (RSA), annual meeting, March 2017 - Chicago, IL
  • "Student Colleges in Italy" - Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS), Stanford University, February 2017
  • "Diamond Jubilee: 75 Years of the New England Renaissance Conference" - Renaissance Society of America (RSA), annual meeting, April 2016 - Boston, MA
  • "A Street Brawl in Bologna: The Spanish College and the Montalto College, 1672-73" - Renaissance Society of America (RSA), annual meeting, March 2015 - Berlin, Germany
  • "An Architect by the Bay: John H Powers of San Francisco" - San Francisco Architectural Heritage Society, January 2014 - San Francisco, CA
  • "A Catholic Schoolmaster in Sixteenth-Century Italy" - Early Modern Catholicism Seminar, Oxford Univ., June 2013 - Oxford, England
  • "A Venetian Doge in a Yankee Court: Wall Murals at the Ames-Webster House in Boston" - Renaissance Society of America (RSA), annual meeting, April 2013 - San Diego, CA
  • Saving Venice - Boston International Fine Art Show, 2012 - Boston, Massachusetts
  • The Reception of Horace in Sixteenth-Century Bergamo. - New England Renaissance Conference, 2012 - Lowell, Massachusetts
  • Venetian Ceilings in American Homes, 2012 - Boston, MA
  • Tales of Woe and Joy: Student Health in the Hungarian-Illyrian College of Bologna, 1550-1750. - New College Medieval-Renaissance Conference (FL), March 2012 - Sarasota, FL
  • "Colleges in Late Renaissance Bologna" - Bologna at the Crossroads: Recent Anglo-American Scholarship, 2011 - Bologna, Italy
  • Tridentine Influence in Bolognese Colleges. - Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, 2011 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Collegiate Conflict: The Spanish College and the Montalto College in Bologna, 1672-1673. - Society for Italian Historical Studies / American Historical Association Annual Meeting, 2011 - Boston, MA
  • "Orazio a Bergamo / Horace in Bergamo" - Giornata di Studio in honor of Giulio Orazio Bravi, April 2011 - Bergamo, Italy
  • Orphans in Early Modern Italy. - Conference on Childhood and Emotion in Transcultural Perspective, 1300-1800, 2010 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Who Shall Pay for School? Collegiate Finances in Bologna, 1550-1750. - History of Education Society (USA) Annual Conference, 2010 - Cambridge, MA
  • La Misericordia Maggiore e la Scuola nel Cinquecento, 2010 - Fondazione Pia Misericordia di Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy
  • La scoula a Bergamo Presentazione del libro, 2010 - Biblioteca Civica 'Angelo Mai', Bergamo, Italy
  • Nicol˜ Cologno: Maestro di Scuola a Bergamo, 2010 - Ateneo di Scienze, Lettere, ed Arti, Bergamo, Italy
  • Schooling in Bergamo and in the Venetian Republic: a comparison. - Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, 2010 - Venice, Italy
  • Risky Business: Misbehavior among Early Modern College Students in Bologna., 2009 - Berkeley, CA
  • I Gesuiti a Bergamo nel periodo Early Modern. - Seminario del Archivio Storico Bergamasco, 2009 - Biblioteca Civica ÔAngelo MaiÕ, Bergamo, Italy
  • Feeding Body and Soul: The Collegio Montalto of Bologna, 1585-1700. - Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, 2009 - Geneva, Switzerland
  • Reading and Writing: Schools of Christian Doctrine in Sixteenth-Century Bergamo - Society for the History of Childhood and Youth, 2009 - Linkoping, Sweden
  • Collegiate Conflict in Early Modern Bologna - Villa I Tatti Shoptalk, 2009 - Florence, Italy
  • Medieval-Renaissance Conference - Medieval-Renaissance Conference, 2008 - Sarasota, FL
  • A Peripatetic Pedagogue: Giovanni Battista Pio in Bergamo and Bologna. - Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, 2006 - San Francisco, California
  • The Venetian Soffitto (ceiling) of Morgan Manor, California. - Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, 2003 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Venice, Jews, and the Inquisition: The Historical Context of 'Secret Passage', 2003 - Boston, MA
  • "Dr. Chips: Prep Schools and the Ph.D." - American Historical Association Annual Conference, 2001 - Boston, MA
  • I vescovi e le scuole a Bergamo nel 500 Bishops and Schools in Sixteenth-Century Bergamo - International conference on Italian religious history, 2001 - Siena, Italy
  • "Two Master Teachers in the Sixteenth-Century Venetian Republic." - Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, 2001 - Chicago, IL
  • A Schoolmaster's Library in Sixteenth-Century Italy - Working Texts: The Material Culture of the Book in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 2001 - Stanford, CA
  • "Le istituzioni scolastiche a Bergamo tra Cinquecento e Seicento" Schools in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Bergamo, 2000 - Bergamo, Italy
  • "Trouble in the Classroom: Education and Discipline in Sixteenth-Century Bergamo." - Conference on Premodern Teenagers, 2000 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • "Who Shall Teach the Children?: Jesuits, Somaschans, and Civic Education in Bergamo, 1570-1640." - Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, 2000 - Florence, Italy
  • "Teachers and Texts in the Tridentine Terrafirma: The Case of Bergamo, 1540-1590." - Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, 1999 - St. Louis, Missouri
  • "In Support of Schools: Cooperation and Conflict in Early Modern Bergamo." - International Conference on Institutional Culture in Early Modern Europe, 1998 - London, UK
  • "Schools of Christian Doctrine in Bergamo, 1554 - ca.1620." - Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, 1998 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • "Struggling Toward Success: Jesuit Education in Italy, 1545-1600." - Medieval Studies Conference, 1996 - Kalamazoo, MI

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Individual Research Grant for Research in Venice (2020), Grant - Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
    Carlsmith, C. (Principal)
  • Faculty Summer Research Grant (2019), Grant - UML History Department
    Carlsmith, C. (Principal)
  • Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Univ. of Bologna (declined) (2016), Fellowship - University of Bologna
    Carlsmith, C.
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellow (2009), Fellowship - Villa I Tatti, Harvard University's Center for Italian Renaissance Studies
    Carlsmith, C.
  • Franklin Research Grant (2007), Grant - American Philosophical Society
  • Fulbright Dissertation Grant to Italy (1996), Grant - Italian Fulbright Comission

Research Currently in Progress

  • "Save Venice, Inc: A History, 1966-2021"
    A catastrophic flood in November 1966 temporarily submerged the city of Venice, Italy and threatened its extraordinary patrimony of art and architecture. Christopher Carlsmith tells the story of Save Venice, Inc. (SVI), an American non-profit organization that for fifty years has raised funds to conserve and restore paintings, sculptures, books, mosaics, and entire buildings at risk from human and environmental impact. The vexing question of how, and for whom, Venice should be “saved”, as well as the evolving context of contemporary Venice and the actions of other historic preservation committees, are examined here. Drawing upon extensive archival research, oral interviews, and newspaper accounts, each chapter traces several themes (e.g., executive leadership, conservation activities, fund-raising methods, educational outreach), thus providing comparative analysis throughout the work. Using the methodologies of cultural history, art history, and historic preservation, this book narrates the achievements and challenges faced by Save Venice Inc. and by this unique city on the sea.
    Carlsmith, C.