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About the Author

Eleanor Phillips Brackbill grew up in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning an MA in art history at Boston University, completing a curatorial fellowship in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program, and studying in the art history doctoral program at City University of New York, Brackbill began a career in art and museum education. Following twenty-five years working as a curator of education at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, she embarked on a second career writing about history. She lives with her husband in Westchester County and is currently working on her next book, also a story steeped in American history.

She credits her parents for the dual gifts of appreciation for images and for history. Her father’s serious avocation as a photographer and her mother’s passion for history laid the groundwork. On extensive and regular road trips he would take thousands of photographs documenting the family vacations (to be shown later in slide shows), and she would stop regularly by the side of the road to read historic site markers, exclaiming, “Just think, it happened right here!”

Her mother and grandmother, avid genealogists, did such a good job tracing the myriad branches of the family back hundreds of years, the author felt as if there was nothing more to do on the family tree. With an appetite for history, she turned instead to her home and in An Uncommon Cape: Researching the Histories and Mysteries of a Property created a kind of genealogy of a piece of property.

Other Publications

  • Contributing author. When Modern Was Contemporary: Selected Works from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection. Tracy Fitzpatrick, editor. Purchase, NY: Neuberger Museum of Art, forthcoming.
  • “The Westchester County Parkway That Never Was.” Hudson River Valley Review 24 (Autumn 2007): 38-58.
  • “Isaac Gedney and the Neutral Ground.” The Westchester Historian 81 (Spring 2005): 36-57.
  • Writing Through the Arts: A Guide to the Program and Its Implementation. Purchase, NY: Neuberger Museum of Art, 1997, editor.
  • Synergy: The Museum/School Program. Purchase, NY: Neuberger Museum of Art, 1987, editor.
  • Nineteenth-Century Landscape Painting and the American Site (Independent Study Program). New York, NY: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1980.



Released September 2012, SUNY Press