Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science

Promoting Public and Academic Understanding of the
History of Science, Technology and Medicine

431 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19106

News of the Consortium
August 2014

Cynara scolymus, 1793, by James Sowerby, 1757-1822.
Original image in: Woodville, William, 1752-1805. Medical Botany (London : Printed and sold for the author by James Phillips, 1790-1793), volume 3, plate 199.
Image courtesy of the Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

The consortium had a very busy and a very productive year in 2013-2014 and we look forward to another good year. This summer, we have been working to extend the consortium beyond the Philadelphia region with new partner institutions. We will: (1) extend the consortium research fellowships to promote use of more collections; (2) share working groups and other academic and public events online; and (3) expand the resources on our website with materials from new members, including the cross-institutional catalogs search.

We are particularly happy about the growth of the fellowship program last year. The applicant pool was nearly twice the size of the previous year's. In December, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded to the consortium a Challenge Grant to help establish an endowment fund for our fellowships. In January, a friend of the consortium provided support for a postdoctoral fellowship for 2014-15. In April, the Center received another NEH grant, from the Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions, that will fund one-year postdoctoral fellowships for the following three years, 2015-2018. In May, the Wyncote Foundation renewed a three-year grant providing core operating support for the Center through 2017.

This new and renewed support recognizes the consortium's past accomplishments and the promise of a new, expanded consortium. As we grow, we will be able to more effectively support research in the history of science, technology and medicine and to promote public understanding of the field. Our efforts are only possible because of: the exceptional historical resources of the member institutions; the individuals who participate in our public events, working groups and conferences; the scholars who give their time and expertise to evaluate fellowship applications, contribute to public and academic events and advise us on our programs; and the individuals, corporations and foundations whose gifts and grants make all these programs possible.

Thank you all for a very good year.


We are welcoming eight research fellows, three dissertation writing fellows and one postdoctoral fellow to the Center for the 2014-2015 academic year. Applications reached a new high with 31 applicants for the research fellowships, 44 applicants for the dissertation writing fellowships, and 56 applicants for the postdoctoral fellowship. Applicants came from a variety of institutions and countries, including China, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Our incoming group is listed below:

New Fellows

Nicole Belolan, University of Delaware
Research Fellow
Navigating the World: The Material Culture of Physical Mobility Impairment in the Early American North, 1700-1861

Amanda Casper, University of Delaware
Dissertation Writing Fellow
Home Alteration in Industrial Philadelphia, 1865 to 1925

Roberto Chauca Tapia, University of Florida
Dissertation Writing Fellow
Science in the Jungle: The Missionary Mapping and National Imagining of Western Amazonia

Cara Fallon, Harvard University
Research Fellow
One Hundred Years of Health: Changing Expectations for Aging Well in 20th Century America

Abraham Gibson, Florida State University
Postdoctoral Fellow
In Search of the Social Impulse: Science and Conciliation during the Interwar Years, 1919-1939

Abigail Glogower, University of Rochester
Research Fellow
Lives of the Copyists: Replicating Subjects in Antebellum American Print Culture 1820-1860

Heidi Hausse, Princeton University
Dissertation Writing Fellow
Life and Limb: Technology, Surgery, and Bodily Loss in Early Modern Germany

Jonson Miller, Drexel University
Research Fellow
Engineers as Servant-Leaders of the Old South: The Southern Military Schools and the Foundation of the New South

Sarah Naramore, University of Notre Dame
Research Fellow
The Last Great System: Benjamin Rush's Physiological Worldview

Elizabeth Searcy, Brown University
Research Fellow
The Unconscious Mind in America, 1880-1917

Jeannie Shinozuka, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Research Fellow
Biotic Borderlands: Constituting Race in Transnational Public Health and Agriculture, 1880-1945

Christopher Willoughby, Tulane University
Research Fellow
Treating the Black Body: Race and Medicine in American Culture, 1800-1861

Fellows Updates

Several former fellows have sent updates about their work or careers.

Julia Mansfield, Stanford University
2013-2014 Dissertation Writing Fellow
Mansfield has been awarded a Dissertation Completion Fellowship for 2014-2015 from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. She will be spending this fellowship at the Center.

Teasel Muir-Harmony, Massachussetts Institute of Technology
2013-2014 Dissertation Writing Fellow
Muir-Harmony has been appointed to a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics.

Rebecca Onion University of Texas at Austin
2012-2014 Postdoctoral Fellow
Onion's book, tentatively titled Innocent Experiments: Childhood and the Culture of Public Science in the United States, is now under contract with the University of North Carolina Press.

Research Reports

Follow the links below to read about the research fellows conducted in consortium collections.

Jeremy Blatter, Harvard University
2013-2014 Research Fellow
The Psychotechnics of Everyday Life: Hugo Münsterberg and the Politics of Applied Psychology, 1892-1920

Catherine Bonier, University of Pennsylvania
2012-2013 Research Fellow
Benjamin H. Latrobe's Philadelphia Waterworks: Republican Emblem and Democratic Instrument of Healthy Equilibium

Kathleen Brian, George Washington University
2013-2014 Research Fellow
Morbid Propensities: Suicide, Sympathy, and the Making of American Eugenics

Sarah Chesney, College of William and Mary
2013-2014 Research Fellow
The Fruit of Their Labors: Exploring William Hamilton’s Greenhouse Complex and the Rise of American Botany in Early Federal Philadelphia

Emily Handlin, Brown University
2013-2014 Research Fellow
Moving Beyond Vision: Eadweard Muybridge in Philadelphia

Kathryn Irving, Yale University
2013-2014 Research Fellow
The American Idiot Schools: Disability and Segregation in the Nineteenth Century

Liang Jiang, Arizona State University
2012-2013 Research Fellow
Degeneration in Miniature: Cell Death and Aging Research in the Twentieth Century

Katrina Jirik, University of Minnesota
2012-2013 Research Fellow
A Reinterpretation of American Institutions for the Feeble-minded, 1875-1920: the development of a bureaucracy of care

Jason Kauffman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2013-2014 Research Fellow
Terra Desconhecida: Nature, Knowledge, and Society in the Pantanal Wetlands of Brazil and Bolivia

Joel Klein, Indiana University
2013-2014 Research Fellow
Chymical Medicine, Corpuscularism, and Controversy: A Study of Daniel Sennert’s Works and Letters

Jessica Linker, University of Connecticut
2013-2014 Research Fellow
"It is my wish to behold Ladies among my hearers": Early American Women and Scientific Practice, 1720-1860

Donald Opitz, DePaul University
2013-2014 Research Fellow
Cross-Atlantic Fertilizations: Women's Horticultural Education at Ambler, Pennsylvania

Douglas O'Reagan, University of California, Berkeley
2012-2013 Research Fellow
Seizing Science and Technology: American, British, and French Efforts to Take German Technology During and Following the Second World War

James Poskett, University of Cambridge
2013-2014 Research Fellow
Printing skulls: the transatlantic publication and reception of Crania Americana (1839)

Matthew White, University of Florida
2011-2012 Research Fellow
Public Science, Patronage, and Free Education: The Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia 1855-1900

Brandon Zimmerman, Independent Scholar
2013-2014 Research Fellow
An Empire of Skulls: The History of The Samuel George Morton Cranial Collection and Scientific Collecting Practices in 19th Century Philadelphia


David Kirsch of the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, speaking about electric vehicles at the Franklin Institute.

Attendees braved one of the coldest nights of the year in January to hear David Kirsch of the University of Maryland provide perspective on the promise of electric vehicles with his discussion, "The Electric Car: Past, Present...and Future?" Our audience learned that at the start of the 20th century, there was already wide diversity in transportation with electric delivery trucks and taxis sharing the streets with horse drawn carriages, gasoline cars, and bicycles. The decline in the use of electric vehicles involved consumer expectations, infrastructure economics and habit, not necessarily poorer technology.

Matt Jones of Columbia University and Helen Nissenbaum of NYU discuss online security, privacy and surveilance with audience members in the Picture Gallery at Drexel University.

In milder weather in March, Matt Jones of Columbia University and Helen Nissenbaum of New York University examined "Technology, Privacy and Security" on the World Wide Web. Jones presented a history of the development of global online surveillance by the US government. Nissenbaum examined tensions between online tracking and privacy in the commercial sector.

In perfectly fine weather in May, the Center helped to support an international conference at Johns Hopkins University Institute of the History of Medicine "Personalized medicine in historical perspective: from antiquity to the genome age" The event was organized by Nathaniel Comfort and Gianna Pomata of Johns Hopkins University.

The past year saw the addition of two new working groups at the Center, one on the history of the human sciences and another on the history of technology. These bring the total of working groups to eight. We look for forward to continuing to expand the working groups.

The new year will start with our Annual Introductory Symposium in which scholars new to the area or new to the field introduce themselves and their work. Please join us if you are near Philadelphia on September 18th.

  Collections Updates

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania announces the addition of a new collection on veterinary science.

The Consortium Special Collections Search Hub can reveal some interesting shared strengths of consortium collections.


The Center welcomes two new Directors to its Board:

Image courtesy of Chemical Heritage Foundation
Arnold Thackray served as Founding CEO of both the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia and the Life Sciences Foundation in San Francisco. Dr. Thackray has been active in the public life of scholarship, serving on a number of boards, including those of the American Council on Education, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is Chancellor of Chemical Heritage Foundation, and a fellow of the Royal Societies of Chemistry and of History, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Image courtesy of Chemical Heritage Foundation
Thomas R. Tritton is a Senior Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He is former president of Haverford College, and former president and CEO of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He is currently a member of the Corporation of Haverford College, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at Ohio Wesleyan University, and member of the Board of Directors of the Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress.

  Thank You

We are grateful and gratified about the consortium's growth so far. Your participation and contributions make all this possible.

With best regards,

Babak Ashrafi, Executive Director
Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science
431 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106

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