Skip navigation
UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

leftnav sidebar

Gerald McFarland

Professor Emeritus


Research Interests and Professional Activities

Teaching U.S. history in college proved to be everything that I hoped it would be when I first chose that career track as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. I was excited about the prospect of being a life-long student of history, and college students promised to be more stimulating intellectually than younger students. Also, I'd long known that I wanted to be a writer. So the requirement that I publish was an attractive feature of being a professor at a research university. While enrolled in the doctoral program at Columbia University, I soon found my main research focus in nineteenth-century U.S. history, and I’ve enjoyed coming at the 1812-1920 period from a variety of angles: political history, social history, borderlands history, and urban history. Since my retirement in 2008, I've turned to writing novels--three so far in the Buenaventura Series--that have a realistic historical setting in early eighteenth-century Spanish New Mexico, a place and period I first studied while teaching upper- and graduate-level courses on the Old West.

Professor Gerald McFarland holds a PhD from Columbia University.

Research Areas:

Modern U.S.


Mugwumps, Morals, and Politics, 1884-1920 (Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1975).

Editor, Moralists or Pragmatists? The Mugwumps, 1884-1900: An Anthology (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975).

A Scattered People: An American Family Moves West (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985); paperback edition (New York: Penguin Books, 1987); Spanish-language edition (Mexico City: Edamex, 1987); second paperback edition (Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1991); third paperback edition (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2000).

The "Counterfeit" Man: The True Story of the Boorn-Colvin Murder Case (New York: Pantheon Books, 1991); paperback edition (Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993); deluxe Notable American Trials edition, with an introduction by Alan M. Dershowitz (New York: Gryphon Editions, 2000).

Inside Greenwich Village: A New York City Neighborhood, 1898-1918 (Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001).

The Brujo’s Way (Sunstone Press, 2013)

What the Owl Saw (Sunstone Press, 2014)

 The Last of Our Kind (Sunstone Press, 2015)

Awards and Accolades:

Phi Beta Kappa, 1959

B.A. with Highest Honors in History, U.C. Berkeley, 1960

Woodrow Wilson Graduate Fellowship, 1960-1964

Meyre Padve Masters Essay Prize, Columbia University, 1962

Danforth Graduate Fellowship, 1960-1964

Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow, 1964

Grant-in-Aid, American Council of Learned Societies, 1971-1972

John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, 1978-1979

Conti Research Fellowship, 1992-1993

American Philosophical Society Research Grant, 1995

College of Humanities & Fine Arts Outstanding Teacher Award, 2002