Office: Department of History
Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Dr. John Coleman came to Southeast at age 26 while working on his dissertation ("In the Pursuit of Harmony: A Study in the Thought of Jesse Macy") at the University of Iowa. Except for a year teaching American history in Springfield Illinois, he spent his career working in the Southeast "cook house."
Always interested in intellectual history and language, Dr. Coleman taught courses in American intellectual history and historiography as well as specialty courses dealing with colonial America, the "New American Republic," the history of Missouri, and the Jacksonian era.
In the mid-1970's, Dr. Coleman created the first department newsletter on campus and his work became the model for other departments. His efforts in editing Pastscript kept students informed about the department and other graduates for twenty-five years.
His list of publications and presentations over his thirty-four years is lengthy, but many have centered on American thought. In the last several years Coleman developed an interest in the career of Billy Sunday and in American culinary heritage. His article, "Casting Bread on Troubled Waters: Grahamism in the West," was published in The Journal of American Culture. He has also written "A Taste of the River: An Examination of the Culinary Heritage of the Mississippi River Valley," "The Grossest Feeders in the World: A History of Eating and Drinking in America," and "The American Diet: The Challenges of Abundance and Discipline."
This interest in food -- particularly his willingness to share his baking masterpieces -- led to his title as the department's "Pillsbury Doughboy."