Associate Professor of History
Clarkson University
Bertrand H. Snell Hall, Room 269
Potsdam, NY 13699-5750
Telephone: (315) 268-3991
E-Mail: ettingle@clarkson.edu


Laura Ettinger is Associate Professor of History at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. Originally from Baltimore, she received her A.B. from Vassar College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from the University of Rochester. Her research and writings focus on the history of women, gender, and the medical, scientific, and technological professions in the United States, reflecting her political and professional concerns about the state of American health care, women’s health, and women in technology and science today. She believes that history matters—that learning about the past helps us to understand current challenges and to make more informed decisions about the future.


Ettinger has won awards for both her scholarly contributions and her teaching. Her book, Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession, was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice.  Her current research focuses on the history of women in engineering. Ettinger received Clarkson University’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2013) and Outstanding New Teacher Award (2000). She has created and taught courses on the history of modern America, women and gender, families, health care, and sexuality, as well as a methodological course on oral history interviews. She strives for her students to come away from her courses with the ability to put current issues in historical context and with analytical tools that they can use in a variety of professional fields. Ettinger was a Fulbright Scholar to the University of Rijeka in Croatia in 2012. 


Book: Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession
Named Outstanding Academic Title for 2006, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

Current research project on the history of women in engineering
Information for early Clarkson women engineering alumnae about the project


J. William Fulbright Scholar, U.S. State Department, University of Rijeka, Croatia, Spring 2012






“A Very Cold Reception: Rogue Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi Defies Convention to Admit Women” (with Shannon Hanson)


“Labor Pangs: The Birth of a New Profession”


“A Very American Story: Introducing Your Child to Genealogy” (with Alison Ettinger-DeLong)


“Inside Out: The Use and Inadvertent Misuse of Oral Histories”


Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession   (Purchase book)


            Reviews of Ettinger’s Nurse-Midwifery:


“In this important book, historian Laura E. Ettinger sets out to explain how nurse-midwifery, the mainstay of maternity care in many European countries, has been unable to fulfill its promise in the United States….[T]his is a must-read for historians and students of medicine, health care, women’s studies, and the professions.”

            --Ellen S. More, American Historical Review


“Ettinger meticulously researched her subject, and this rich and textured study provides fresh insights into the profession.  Through carefully argued analysis, Ettinger uses nurse-midwifery as a lens through which to understand much larger issues of maternity health care.  Although not a nurse-midwife, the author displays an impressive understanding of the essence of nurse-midwifery, providing what reads like an insider’s view of the profession.  Nurse-midwifery advocates and policy makers would be well advised to read this book in order to inform debates on maternity care practices and resource utilization today.”

            --Anne Z. Cockerham, Nursing History Review


“In this meticulous and fascinating historical study, Ettinger details the emergence of American nurse-midwifery and analyzes the trends to the present.  The author argues that nurse-midwives across the country who completed advanced education in the 1920s were simultaneously in alliance with and antagonistic to the medicalization of childbirth.  Early nurse-midwives served low-income people and lost astonishingly few mothers at a time when maternal mortality was high.  However, when childbirth moved from the home to the hospital, nurse-midwives were forced by politics and the hospital hierarchy to accommodate physicians, and thus lost autonomy.  The roadblocks that this accommodation created for nurse-midwives are recognizable barriers today.  Ettinger argues that nurse-midwives have been and are currently misunderstood and ignored; they continue to face opposition….This well-researched, well-written book is an enjoyable read.”

            --Diane B. Hamilton, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries





·         Clarkson Writing Center

·         Purdue University's Online Writing Lab

·         The Writer's Handbook at the University of Wisconsin-Madison



·         Ultimate History Project, promoting high-quality cutting-edge scholarship intended for everyone

·         Clarkson University Library's Oral History Research Guide

·         American Memory, primary source materials related to the history and culture of the U.S., from the National Digital Library, Library of Congress

·         History Now, a quarterly journal of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

·         American Women's History Links

·         History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine

·         Time Magazine, from 1923-present

·         Potsdam Public Museum, history museum in Potsdam, New York

·         St. Lawrence County Historical Association, history museum and archives in Canton, New York