Nineteenth-Century African American History, Social and Cultural History, Foodways, Gender, Public History


Danya Pilgrim is a specialist in African American history during the long nineteenth century. Her research and teaching interests focus on the social and cultural history of the United States and include food, gender, and the everyday, as well as public history and the digital humanities. Her current research project traces the development of Philadelphia’s black catering trade from the early national period to the turn of the twentieth century. Pilgrim earned her Ph.D. in African American Studies and in American Studies from Yale University.

Selected Publications

  • “New Introduction,” in Commanders of the Dining Room; Biographic Sketches and Portraits of Successful Head Waiters, Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People and Place, by E. A. Maccannon (1904; repr., Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2021).
  • “Masters of a Craft: Philadelphia's Black Public Waiters, 1820-1850,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography142, no. 3, Special Issue: Food and Foodways in Pennsylvania History (October 2018): 269-293. 

Courses Taught


  • HIST 2103: African American History to 1865
  • HIST 4096:Capstone Seminar in History
  • HIST 2280: Founding Black Philadelphia
  • HIST 0867: Founding Philadelphia
  • HIST 0829: History and Significance of Race in America
  • HIST 2900: Monuments, Marches, and Museums: Race and Public History 


  • HIST 8101: Introduction to American History