Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Peter D'Agostino  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction

Born: 1962


Illinois Connection

Peter R. D'Agostino was associate professor of history and Catholic studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, from 2001 until his death in 2005. He was awarded tenure in 2004.

Biographical and Professional Information

D’Agostino was a path-breaking historian whose research and writing focused on the development of the Catholic Church in America, colleagues said. His book, ''Rome in America'' was awarded the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize by the American Society of Church History in 2003 and was a widely praised work that challenged past interpretations and broke new ground. ''The Chicago Tribune'' described the book as a "well regarded and expansive history of Catholicism in America." ''Commonweal'' magazine called it a "book of landmark significance" and described D’Agostino as "an intellectually courageous historian."He grew up the youngest of five children in Staten Island, N.Y. He received his bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Brown University in Providence, R.I. In 1987, he earned a master’s degree in religion at the University of Chicago and he received his Ph.D. in the history of Christianity from the University of Chicago in 1993.D’Agostino spent a year in Rome immersed in the Vatican archives doing research for his dissertation. He so loved his work that he taught himself archaic forms of Italian so he could read the old documents. His book argued that the Vatican’s influence on the developing Catholic church in America was greater than most previous historians had believed. His research and writing focused on the development of the Catholic Church in America. His work linked Church history with the history of immigration, especially the history of Italian-Americans.He also enjoyed playing bluegrass violin and mandolin.

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