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Will Cooley

Professor of History

B.A., Hamline University; Ph.D., University of Illinois

Walsh University
A Catholic University of Distinction
2020 East Maple Street
North Canton, Ohio44720
United States

Will Cooley is a historian of the twentieth century United States.  His scholarly work examines race, labor relations, and social mobility.  He has published in the Journal of Urban History, the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Labor History, and has also written entries for American Sports: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas and Multicultural America: A Multimedia Encyclopedia.  He has forthcoming articles in The Oxford Handbook on Immigration and Ethnicity and in an edited collection on African-American entrepreneurship in ChicagoHis current book project details racial discrimination and the making of the modern American middle class.

Cooley is also active in criminal justice reform efforts.  His articles have appeared in the Canton Repository and the Catholic Exponent.  In 2012, the Stark County Bar Association awarded him the Liberty Bell Award, which is presented annually to a citizen who has rendered outstanding service to the community. 

Cooley teaches a range of courses, including American Catholic History, 20th Century United States, African American History, Sport History, and the Industrial Revolution in the World. 

Cooley lives in North Canton with his wife, Melissa Kath, and daughter, Ella.  



Cooley, Will. “Cinderella Man,” in American Sports: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2013), 257.

Cooley, Will. “The Fighter,” in American Sports: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2013), 434-435.

“Revisiting Gangs in the Post-World War II North American City: A Forum,” Journal of Urban History 38:4 (July, 2012), 807-811.

Cooley, Will. "Moving On Out: Black Pioneering in Chicago, 1915-1950," Journal of Urban History 36:4 (July 2010), 485-506.

Cooley, Will. "'Stones Run It': Taking Back Control of Organized Crime in Black Chicago, 1940-1975," Journal of Urban History 37:6 (November, 2011), 911-932.

Cooley, Will. "'Vanilla Thrillas': Modern Boxing and White-Ethnic Masculinity,"Journal of Sport and Social Issues 34:4 (November, 2010), 418-437.


Review of Donald Spivey, “If You Were Only White”: The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2012), History: Reviews of New Books 41:3 (2013), 108-109. 

Review of Richard Hoffer, Something in the Air: American Passion and Defiance in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2011), Journal of Sport History 39:1 (Spring 2012), 178-180.

Review of Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011), American Studies 52:3 (2013), 77-78.

Review of Jason Kelly, Shelby's Folly: Jack Dempsey, Doc Kearns, and the Shakedown of a Montana Boomtown (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2010), Journal of Sport History 38:1 (Spring 2011), 150-151.

Review of Jerry Izenberg, Through My Eyes: A Sports Writer's 58-Year Journey (Haworth, NJ: St. Johann Press, 2009), Journal of Sport History 37:2 (Summer 2010), 302-304.

Review of Thomas Barthel, Baseball's Peerless Semipros: The Brooklyn Bushwicks of Dexter Park (Harworth, NJ: St. Johann Press, 2009), Journal of Sport History 37:2 (Summer 2010), 289-290.

Review of Michael Lomax, ed., Sports and the Racial Divide: African American and Latino Experience in an Era of Change (Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2008), Journal of Sport History 37:1 (Spring 2010), 172-174.

Review of Edward Slavishak, Bodies of Work: Civic Display and Labor in Industrial Pittsburgh (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008), H-Urban, December, 2008.

Review of John Mullin, The Rise and Self-Destruction of the Greatest Football Team in History: The Chicago Bears and Super Bowl XX (Chicago: Triumph Books, 2005), Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 100:4 (Winter 2007-2008), 407-408.

Review of Randi Storch, Red Chicago: American Communism at Its Grassroots, 1928-1935 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007), H-Urban, February, 2008.

Review of Davarian L. Baldwin, Chicago's New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007), Journal of Illinois History 10:4 (Winter 2007), 324-325.


With Harry Klide, "Keep a Close Eye on Private Prisons," Canton Repository, September 18, 2011, F1.

With Stan Stromsky, "'Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration Revisited: Seeking Criminal Justice Reform in Ohio," Catholic Exponent, July 8, 2011, 4, 19.

With Harry Klide, Doyle Walker, and Doug Brown, "Stark Group Proposes Reforms for Ohio Justice System," Canton Repository, September 26, 2010, F1.

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