Faculty & Staff

Dr. Helen Heinz, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of History
(610) 785-6575

Helen Altenpohl Heinz was born and raised on the Mainline in the Philadelphia area. First taught by the Sisters of the Holy Child at Rosemont, she graduated high school from the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr. She went to the University of Pennsylvania to study Anthropology, but a fateful meeting with a young man, an architecture student from Bishop McDevitt in Glenside changed that trajectory. After a long hiatus at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and seven wonderful children, the family re-located to Bucks County in 1984. Three more children joined the fun by 1992. Returning to school in 1995, Dr. Heinz finished her long-delayed undergraduate degree at Penn, earning a B.S. in Psychology that year. She entered a Master's Program at Penn, but transferred to Temple University where she earned her M. A. in 1998 and then a Ph.D. in American History in 2008. As a candidate, she was awarded the Dean's Fellowship for outstanding teaching in 2002.

Dr. Heinz currently teaches 3 different courses in American History at Philadelphia University. There she was awarded an honorarium and recognition for Distinguished Teaching in 2011. She also continues to teach Philadelphia History and American Presidents at Temple University, and an American History Survey and Catholic History in both divisions of the seminary. In Bucks County she serves on the local township Historical Commission lobbying for Historic Architectural Preservation, and lectures frequently for historical societies and school groups. She does architectural history consulting and research as requested, and participates “hands on” in the restoration/rehabilitation of a historic house (c. 1720) owned by family members. Married for over 44 years to that Penn student--now a local architect, she spends her free time with her 10 children, three still at home, and 14 grandchildren.   

Dr. Heinz feels that every priest should understand the traditions of the Church and the Faith, as well as the nuances of local culture and ethnicity. Her courses bring these traditions to life. She believes an appreciation of the past should inform and impact future decisions priests must make as pastors, teachers, and administrators in all our American Catholic Dioceses.



Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (2008)

M.A. (History)

Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (1998)

B.A. (Psychology)          

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (1995)

Professional Experience

Adjunct Professor, Philadelphia University (2009- )

Adjunct Professor, Temple University (2003- )

Adjunct Professor, Saint Charles Borremeo (2011- ) 

Cabrini College (Spring, 2005)

Temple University: The Dean’s Fellowship (2001-2002)                      

Temple University, Grad School Teaching Assistantships (1998-2001)

Staff Archivist, Bucks County Historical Society, Spruance Library (1987-1991)

Office Manager, Stephen Heinz, Architect (1984-1996)

Office Manager, Arcturus Electric, Ithaca, New York (1971-1980)

BSA/GSA, Merit Badges and Religious Awards Coordinator, Yardley-Makefield Soccer Club Volunteer Coach, Pennsbury Parents Association, Church, etc.


How a German Jesuit saved the American Revolution, forthcoming

A Guide to Lower Makefield’s Historic Landmarks co-written with members of the Lower Makefield Township Historical Commission and funded by a PHMC grant, 1998. (Edited and Reprinted 2nd Edition, 2008)

A Tri-Centennial History of Lower Makefield Township, assisted by members of the Lower Makefield Historical Commission, funded by the township and a First Union Bank grant, 1992.

“The Place we called home: Transformations in Site Planning in Pennsylvanian Domestic Architecture: 1820-1920

“‘A Woman of Dangerous Principles & a Villain of no ordinary character’: The infamous Lucretia Chapman--Lino Epos y Mina Murder Case: Gender, Sex, Nativism and National Attention on Rural

“B. Franklin: The Quiet Bureaucratic Career in His Majesty’s Postal Service.”  An investigation of B. Franklin's major income sources.

Recent Presentations & Conferences

September, 2010: Paper for the 125th Anniversary of the American Catholic Historical Society, “How the German Jesuits saved the American Revolution.” Anticipated Publication of same in ACHS Journal.

July, 2010 U.S. State Department Seminar of Middle Eastern Foreign Exchange students from Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Syria, in conjunction with the Dialogue Institute at Temple University, Philadelphia. “How a minority religion succeeds in a tolerant multi-religious environment: The Catholic example in colonial Philadelphia: 1757-1793.”

October 6-11, 2009: Paper Presentation @ the International Conference held at Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz Germany. Panel:  German-Speaking People in the Greater Mid-Atlantic Region, Cross-Cultural Contacts and Conflicts, 1700-1800

“German Catholics, the Invisible Life: Aufklärung-Catholicism in Enlightenment Pennsylvania, 1741-1800.”

November 2009: Local Township TV presentation: “History Is All Around You” in conjunction with Lower Makefield Historical Commission and Historical Society, ongoing broadcast looped on local public access TV channel.

February 2009:  Presented to Lower Makefield Township Historical Society and Public Powerpoint: “Why do we care? The history and significance of Edgewood, a 19th century crossroads village.”

March 2009:  Panel Commentator on 3 Colonial Period Papers presented at the American Catholic Historical Society Conference, La Salle University

March 2008:  Paper Presentation to Haycock Historical Society: “The Jesuit contribution to religious toleration in rural Pennsylvania at Haycock Mission, Bucks County”

Spring 2003:    Barnes Club Commentator: 19th Century Economic History panel.

Spring 2002:    Barnes Club Commentator: 19th century American Popular Culture panel.

Spring 2001:    Barnes Club paper presentation: “B. Franklin: The Quiet Bureaucratic Career in His Majesty’s Postal Service.”  And others back to 1996.

Public History

Appointed to Washington Crossing Historic Park Commission by Pennsylvania Governor: Robert Casey, Served: 1990-to end of Commission in 2000: Member of local oversight board of governors directing park policy in conjunction with the staff of the PHMC and WCHP.  Helped to construct the park’s 20 year Master Plan with particular interest and input in Education,Visitor Services, and Site Improvements sub-committees.

Appointed to Lower Makefield Township Historic Commission: 1987 to present: Served terms as Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson of 7 member board, Monthly review of development plans, preservation needs, local history presentations and planning for historic properties owned by LMT, or other Township residents, as directed by Board of Supervisors, Educational outreach, Frequent appearances to monitor preservation plans for the Patterson Farm, and other LMT Historical properties under public stewardship.

Lower Makefield Historical Society, President 1987, 1992, Board of Directors to 1999, Honorary Lifetime Member, October 2007 to present

Staff Archivist, Bucks County Historical Society, Spruance Library 1987-1991: Created databases and finding aids while archiving photographs, prints, drawings, broadsides, postcards and other ephemera collections of the BCHS funded by a Pew Foundation Grant.

Awards & Accomplishments

Distinguished Teaching Award (and Honorarium) for the Col. Lib. Arts, Philadelphia University (2011)

Nominated as the one of the university winners for the award by the College (2010)

Awarded the Dean’s (University) Fellowship, Temple University (Fall 2001-Spring 2002)

Awarded Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Temple University (Fall 1998-Spring 2001)