Historical Perspectives On Contemporary Issues

Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America with Melanie Kiechle

Melanie KiechleMelanie Kiechle, Assistant Professor of History at Virginia Tech, joined the Consortium to discuss her new book on the history of health and sensory perception in urban environments. To bring diverse perspectives to the issues that Smell Detectives raises, the Consortium invited several people with related expertise to ask Melanie some questions about her work. Listen to the podcast here, learn more by clicking on the link to further resources, and add your own questions or ideas through the discussion forum.

Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America (University of Washington Press, 2017)

Podcast music: "Clarinet Squawk" by the Louisiana Five (1920), courtesy University of California, Santa Barbara Library


Gary Burlingame

Director, Bureau of Laboratory Services, Philadelphia Water Department

Robert DeSalle

Curator, American Museum of Natural History

Allison Goldberg

Pathologist, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Richard Taylor

Associate Professor, HVAC Technology/Plumbing & Heating Design, Pennsylvania College of Technology

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Insights from the Collections
The Consortium’s collections provide many opportunities to learn more about the history of odor, urban environments and public health. 
Our cross-institutional search tool allows researchers to investigate materials across multiple institutions from a single interface. With more than 4.4 million catalog records of rare books and manuscripts, the Consortium’s search hub offers scholars and the public the ability to identify and locate relevant materials.
Search the Consortium search hub.
Some of the materials related to this topic include:

Robert Hare papers, American Philosophical Society

O.H. Robertson papers, American Philosophical Society

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Smithsonian Institution

Chautauqua School of Nursing Records, University of Pennsylvania

Charles-Edward Amory Winslow papers, Yale University

Papers of Leslie Silverman, Harvard University Countway Library of Medicine

Ernst Dichter Papers, Series 1, Hagley Museum & Library

Avon Products, Inc. records, 1880-2012, Hagley Museum & Library


See also recent work from our fellows:

Catherine Bonier, Benjamin H. Latrobe's Philadelphia Waterworks: Republican Emblem and Democratic Instrument of Healthy Equilibrium

Paul Braff, Enthroning Health: The National Negro Health Movement and the Fight to Control Public Health Policy in the African American Community, 1915-1950

Betsy Frederick-Rothwell, Inside Out: Office Buildings and the Hybrid Nature of Space, 1870-1930