Chatham University

Visual Arts Faculty and Staff

Elisabeth Roark Ph.D.

Elisabeth Roark
Associate Professor of Art
Hometown : Paoli, PA
Joined Chatham : 1996

Academic Areas of Interest

American Painting and Sculpture, Colonial-1900, Portraiture and Self-Portraiture, 1400-present, American Cemeteries and Cemetery Sculpture, Artist in Society, 1400-present, Museum Studies, Curatorial Studies, Museum Education

Personal Areas of Interest

Reading, Biking, Theatre, Music (my Ipod)


  • BA, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA, 1981
  • MA, University of Pittsburgh, 1984
  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1991


  • "Courbet's Joueurs des dames and 'La Vie de Boheme'," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, December, 1988, 277-80
  • "John Frankenstein's Portrait of Godfrey Frankenstein and the Aesthetics of Friedrich Schiller, American Art, March 2001, 74-83
  • "Picturing Pittsburgh: The Catharine R. Miller Collection at Chatham College," Western Pennsylvania History, Winter 2001, 14-19
  • Artists of Colonial America, 207 p. book, Greenwood Press, December 2003
  • "Paint for the many? Rereading William Sidney Mount's The Painter's Triumph," Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies, 27, 2004, 155-84
  • "Bathing, Purity, and the Body: The Mikvah Project in Context," Art Works: A Publication of the American Jewish Museum, Fall 2004, 4-8
  • "Embodying Immortality: Angels in America's Rural Garden Cemeteries, 1850-1900," Markers XVI: Journal of the Association of Gravestone Studies, 2007, 56-111
  • "Painting," Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment, forthcoming


  • Pi Gamma Mu, Allegheny College, 1981
  • Alden Scholar, Allegheny College, 1977-80
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Allegheny College, 1981
  • Andrew W. Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh,1987-88
  • Smithsonian Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1988-89
  • Luce Foundation Grant, June 1991
  • Kenan/NEH Faculty Development Grant, Converse College, 1991
  • Central Research Fund Grant, Chatham University, April 2008


  • Secretary, Omicron of Pennsylvania Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society
  • American Cemeteries and Gravemarkers Association
  • Association for Gravestone Studies
  • Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association
  • American Culture Association
  • College Art Association
  • American Studies Association


  • Session Co-Chair, Art and Work, Art as Work, American Studies Annual Meeting, 2002
  • Session Chair, American Art and Architecture, Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association Annual Meeting, 2004
  • Assistant Curator of Education, Carnegie Museum of Art, 1992-1996
  • Seminar Leader, Pittsburgh Teacher's Institute, Jan. 2000-Jul. 2005
  • Faculty Secretary, 2005-06
  • Curator of University Collections: Olkes Collection of African Art, University permanent collection, Arthur G. Smith Collection of Historic Pittsburgh Images
  • Coordinator, Chatham University Art Gallery, 2006-present
  • Consultant and appeared in "A Cemetery Special" produced by Rich Sebak for the Public Broadcasting System, premiered nationally October 25, 2005
  • Consultant, Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, 2007-the present
  • Division Chair, Arts and Design Division, 2003-2004


  • "Courbet's Joueurs des dames and 'La Vie de Boheme,'" Middle Atlantic Symposium in the History of Art (Washington, DC) 1986
  • "Images of Artists and Their Audience: Popular Taste and Professional Identity, 1830-1860," American Studies Association Annual Meeting (Baltimore) 1991
  • "Paint for the many? William Sidney Mount's The Painter's Triumph and Johannes Oertel's The Cpuntry Connoisseurs and Popular Taste," Society for the Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting (Harper's Ferry, WV) 1998
  • "'Crafting' the Artist's Identity: Tompkins Matteson's Erastus Dow Palmer in His Studio, 1857," American Studies Association Annual Meeting (Houston) 2002
  • "Defending the Faith: The Catholic Context and Content of Justus Englehardt Kuhn's Portraits of Eleanor and Henry Darnall III, c. 1710, American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association Annual Meeting (New Orleans) 2003
  • "Innocence and Italian Sculpture: Giovanni Benzoni's Monument for Mrs. John Pendleton Kennedy in Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery," American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association Annual Meeting, (Atlanta) Mar. 2006
  • "Assessing the Ordinary Angel: A Typology of Angel Monuments in America's 'Rural' Cemeteries, 1850-1900," Association for Gravestone Studies 29th Annual Conference (Doylestown, PA) Jun. 2006
  • "Embodying Immortality: The Tasks and Types of Angel Monuments in the American 'Rural" Cemetery, 1850-1900," Constructions of Death, Mourning, and Memory Conference (Woodcliff Lake, NJ) October, 2006
  • "Restoration and Historic Cemeteries," Field Session, National Trust for Historic Preservation Confernce (Pittsburgh) October-November 2006
  • "In the Company of Angels: New Research on Rural Cemetery Sculpture," American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association Annual Meeting (Boston), April 2007