An active historian with a passionate interest in local history, the material culture of early America, and the history of everyday people, in particular minorities and women, Dr. Wenger teaches the U.S. History Survey and upper level courses on Colonial America, the Early Nation, U.S. Women’s History, Native American History, and Material Culture. She also serves as the advisor for the Wilkes Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.  

She has presented papers at the annual conferences of the Pennsylvania Historical Association, the Society of Early Americanists, the Society for Historians of the Early Republic, and the Vernacular Architecture Forum. Her published articles include “Saffron Use among the Pennsylvania Germans,” Delivering the Goods: the Country Storekeeper and Inland Commerce,” and “The Gemberling-Rex House: the Documentary Evidence.” Her book, The Country Storekeeper in Pennsylvania: Creating Networks in the Early American Economy, 1790-1807

was published by Penn State Press in 2008. Current projects include chapters in edited volumes on Pennsylvania German architecture and culture, research into the tobacco and snuff trade in early Lancaster, Pa., and a survey of the architecture of Dauphin County (Pa.) farmsteads. She serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania German Society and Historic Schaefferstown, Inc., and is a member of the Heidelberg Township Planning Commission.

Reflecting her belief in the importance of interdisciplinary studies, Dr. Wenger holds a B.A. in English from Lebanon Valley College, an M.A. in American Studies from Penn State Harrisburg, and a Ph.D. in American History (History of American Civilization Program, with a minor in material culture) from the University of Delaware. A faculty member at Wilkes since 2003, she received the Outstanding Faculty Award of Merit in 2005 and the Outstanding Advisor Award in 2008.


Schaefferstown & Heidelberg Township, Lebanon County, PA (co-authored with Jan Taylor). Arcadia Publishing, 2014

 A Country Storekeeper in Pennsylvania: Creating Economic Networks in Early America, 1790-1807. Penn State University Press, 2008

Book Chapters

Commerce and Culture: Pennsylvania German Commercial Architecture” (co-written with J. Ritchie Garrison) in Pennsylvania-German Vernacular Architecture and Cultural Landscape, ed. Sally McMurry. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. 

 “Communities and Identities: Nineteenth to Twenty-First Centuries,” (co-written with Simon J. Bronner) in Pennsylvania Germans: An Interpretive Encyclopedia, ed. Simon J. Bronner and Joshua R. Brown. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017.


Christopher Demuth: From Single Brother to Celebrated Snuff Maker,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. CXLI, April 2017.

“Tobacco.”  Encyclopedia of Great Philadelphia. 2016.

 “Christopher Demuth.” In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720-Present. Vol. 1.  German Historical Institute, 2012.

 “Reading the Gemberling-Rex House: the Documentary Evidence,” Pennsylvania History, Vol. 75. No. 1, Winter 2007.

Merchants,” “Shipping Industry,” and “Women: Professions.” Encyclopedia of the New American Nation, Scribner’s, 2006.

“Delivering the Goods: the Country Storekeeper and Inland Commerce,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Vol. 129, No. 1, January 2005. 

“Saffron Use Among Pennsylvania Germans: A History and Ethnography,” Der Reggebogge, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2002.

Conference Presentations:

“Christopher Demuth: from Single Brother to Celebrated Snuff Maker.” BHC/EBHA Joint Annual Meeting, Miami, FL, June 2015

 “Pennsylvania German Ethnicity & Consumer Behavior: the Evidence from Schaefferstown, Pa.” 375th New Sweden Anniversary Conference, Newark, DE, November 2013

 “‘His Desire is Not to Work under a Master’”: Christopher Demuth’s Journey from Single Brother to Celebrated Snuff Maker.” Pennsylvania Historical Association (PHA) Annual Meeting, Gettysburg, PA, October 2013

  “Southeastern PA: Production, Consumption, Trade & the Role of the Country Storekeeper.” Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, January 2012

 “Tobacco Trade in Early America: the Demuth Tobacco Shop and its Immigrant Origins.” German American Studies Association meeting, Louisville, KY, September 2011

 “Changing Interpretations of the Alexander Schaeffer Farm.” Middle Atlantic American Studies Association Annual Meeting, April 2011

“Creating Networks of Commerce in Early Pennsylvania” (invited speaker).Braddock Road Preservation Association, Annual Seminar, Jumonville, PA, November 2010

 “Christopher Demuth, Lancaster’s Premiere 18th-Century Tobacconist.” PHA Annual Meeting, Chester, PA, October 2009

“An Interdisciplinary Approach to a German-American Building: From 18th-Century Tavern to 19th-Century Home to 21st-Century Museum.” PHA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, Oct. 2006

“Reading the Gemberling-Rex House: The Documentary Evidence.” Vernacular Architecture Forum Annual Meeting, Harrisburg, PA, June 2004

“Markets in the Back Country: A Rural Merchant & the Pennsylvania Iron Industry.” Society for Historians of the Early Republic, Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY, July 1999

“A Consuming Community: Heidelberg, Pennsylvania, and its Country Store.” Society of Early Americanists Conference, Charleston, SC, March 1999 

“Artisans, Farmers, Merchants in a Small Market Town.” PHA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, October 1997

“A Rural Pennsylvania Community in the Early Federal Period.” Southern American Studies Assoc. Annual Meeting, Seaside, FL, March 1997

“Samuel Rex of Heidelberg, Pennsylvania.” PHA Annual Meeting, Lewisburg, PA, October 1994