portrait of Adina Kelley

Adina Kelley, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of History
Director of Eagle Scholars Honors Program

Ph.D. Baylor University
M.A. Baylor University
B.A. University of Northwestern - St. Paul

Contact Information

Nazareth Hall, N3144
3003 Snelling Ave. N
St Paul, MN 55113

Adina Kelley joined the faculty of the University of Northwestern in 2020 after graduating with her Ph.D. in American History in 2019 from Baylor University. She is excited to return “home” to UNW as she graduated from Northwestern as a history major in 2009. She teaches a wide range of classes including courses on American History, Political Science, Public History, and Western Civilization.

Her research focuses on the intersection of religion, gender, and culture. Her dissertation, “The Evangelical Mystique: Conservative Protestant Femininity in the United States from 1940-1970,” focuses on how evangelicals defined what it meant to be a woman during World War II and the postwar era. Adina is fortunate to be able to teach at UNW alongside her husband, Samuel J. Kelley. They are active members of their church and have two young children and two cats.

Specialty Areas

History of the United States
History of Christianity
Women’s History

The parts of the discipline of history that most intrigue and fascinate me are...
Studying how people and their ideas and practices are formed by their past and present

One of the things I enjoy most in the classroom is...
Igniting an interest and love of history and helping students understand themselves in the context of their past

Currently, I am working on...
Revising my dissertation into a book manuscript and finishing an article exploring the 1959 Southern Baptist competition for “Most Outstanding Pastor’s Wife"

Some interesting things I have done in the past include...
Got married and had two children while finishing graduate school!

Advice I would give to college students:

  • Take classes that interest you even if they don’t fit in your major
  • Get involved in a local church, not just a college ministry
  • Stay up late talking with your friends. You will never live in such close proximity to them again!


Articles in Edited Collections
“Every Principle of Religion, of Patriotism, and of Humanity’: The Civil War,
Women, and Independence, Texas,” in Slavery, Civil War, and Freedom: Texas Baptists in the Civil War Era, (LSU Press, forthcoming).

“The ‘Noblest Career of All’: Housekeeping and the Ideal of Southern Baptist Domesticity, 1945-c. 1960,” in William Lee Pitts, ed., Proceedings of the VIII International Conference on Baptist Studies (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, forthcoming).

“The Queen of Texas Fashion: The Grace Rosanky Putnam Jones Papers.” The Southwestern
Archivist, 38, no. 2, (May 2013).

Other Publications
Instructor’s Manual, Visual, and Student/Online Resources, (with Samuel J. Kelley) for Thomas S. Kidd, America’s Religious History (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic,

Encyclopedia Entry: “Domestic Life, Reconstruction to World War II,” (with Samuel J. Kelley), in American Religious History: Belief and Society Through Time (Santa Barbara, CA:
ABC-CLIO, forthcoming).

Book Reviews
Review of Daniel K Williams. The Election of the Evangelical: Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and the Presidential Contest of 1976, University Press of Kansas, 2020. Journal of Church State Studies.

Review of Finbarr Curtis. The Production of American Religious Freedom, New York
University Press, 2016. Journal of Social History.

Review of Owen Strachan. Awakening the Evangelical Mind: An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015. Themelios.



  • Baylor University Graduate Student Teaching Award, Spring 2017
  • Lynn E. May Study Grant, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, 2016-2017
  • Torrey M. Johnson Grant, Billy Graham Center Archives, July 2016
  • Baylor University Graduate School Travel Award, Professional Meetings, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Baylor University Graduate School Fellowship, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • O’Brian History Scholarship 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018


  • Conference on Faith and History
  • American Society of Church History
  • American Historical Association

Selected Conference Presentations

Roundtable Organizer: “Addressing Hot-Button Issues in the Christian College History Classroom”, Conference on Faith and History, Waco, Texas, March 2022

Roundtable Participant: “Teaching Religious History in the U.S. History Survey,” Conference on Faith and History, Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 2018

Paper: “The ‘Noblest Career of All’: Housekeeping, Homemaking, and the Ideal of Evangelical Postwar Domesticity,” Conference on Faith and History, Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 2018

Paper: “The ‘Noblest Career of All’: Housekeeping and the Ideal of Southern Baptist Domesticity, 1945-c. 1960,” International Conference on Baptist Studies VIII, Waco, Texas, July 2018

Paper: “Most Outstanding Pastor's Wife: Competition, Southern Baptists, and Ideals of Femininity in the 1950s,” American Society for Church History, Winter Meeting, Washington D.C., January 2018

Paper: “‘You Married Him, Now Stick With Him:’ Evangelical Marital Ideals in the Cold War Era,” Conference on Faith and History, Virginia Beach, Virginia, October 2016

Paper: “The Housewife’s ‘Frustrations’: Southern Baptist Women and Betty Friedan,” American Society of Church History, Winter Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, January 2016

Paper: “Global Missions During World War II: Baptists, Imperialism, and Indigenous Peoples,” American Society of Church History, Spring Meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2015

Paper: "Graphic Novels, Comic Books, and Evangelical Identity," Southwestern Commission for Religious Studies Conference, Dallas, Texas, March 2015

Paper: “Welcome Home: Southern Baptists, Women, and Postwar America,” Conference on Faith and History, Malibu, California, September 2014

Paper: “‘Exploitation of Our American Young Womanhood on the Grounds of Patriotism’: Conservative Protestant Responses to Cultural Changes on the Home Front During World War II,” Religion and Sexual Revolutions Conference, The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, May 2014

Paper: “Patriotic Piety Tested in the Public Square: The Ideals and Experiences of Conservative Protestant Women on the World War II Home Front,” Missouri Valley History Conference, Omaha, Nebraska, March 2014

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