Publications

The list of selected staff publications may be searched by keyword or author and can be sorted by year.

"Reflecting on Ethnic Imagery in the Landscape of Commerce 1945–1975" in Getting and Spending: American and European Consumption in the Twentieth Century. Charles McGovern, Susan Strasser, and Matthias Judt, eds. Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Analysis of the images of ethnicity in American advertising,both television and print, between World War II and the Vietnam War.

“Breaking Down Cancer,” The Scientist, 14:4 (February 21, 2000) 39.
A Kind of Fate: Agricultural Change in Virginia, 1861–1920. (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 2000).
“The Promise of Gene Medicine,” The World & I (a publication of the Washington Times) 15:5 (May 2000) 147–149.
“Livestock and the Disease Crisis of the Civil War,” Crossfire: The Magazine of the American Civil War Roundtable (UK), 64 (December 2000) 31–37.
“Biological Thought in Eighteenth-Century Agriculture,” Magnolia (Bulletin of the Southern Garden History Society) XVI:2 (Winter 2000-2001): 1-7.
"Farming, Disease, and Change in the Chesapeake Ecosystem," Chapter 14 in Discovering the Chesapeake: The History of an Ecosystem, edited by Philip D. Curtin, Grace S. Brush, and George W. Fisher. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
"Artifacts of Disaster: Creating the Smithsonian's Katrina Collection" Technology and Culture, April, 2006, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 357–368.

Surveys the process undertaken to collect museum objects from the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, what was collected, and the rationale behind their selection.

"Measuring Infinity: Jose de Rivera's Smithsonian Sculpture on the National Mall" Curator:The Museum Journal, Vol. 51 No. 2, April 2008, pp 179-185.

Recounts the origins, fabrication, and varied meanings of Infinity, the sculpture created for the museum in 1967 by Jose de Rivera.

The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Industrial Archaeology, contributing editor, author of essays on American industrial sites and history, Barrie Trinder, editor-in-chief (Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell Publishers, 1992).

State-by-state entries list and describe industrial tourism sites, industrial museums, and historic factories
throughout the fifty states.

“Problems and Solutions at a Company Museum,” Curator, Vol. 21 No. 2 (June 1978), pp. 168–173.

Recounts the author's rehabilitation of the packaging collection at the Landor Museum of Packaging Antiquities in San
Francisco.

“Elephant Under Glass: The Piano Key Bleach House of Deep River, Connecticut,” in IA, Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology, Vol. 19 No. 2 (1992), pp. 37–59.

Uses the only surviving piano key bleach house to describe and illustrate the stages of manufacture from elephant tusks to finished piano keys, 1800–1950.

“Manufacturing Secrecy: The Dueling Cymbalmakers of North America,” in IA, Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology, Vol. 15 No. 1 (1989), pp. 35–53.

Compares the manufacturing processes of the Zildjian and Sabian cymbal factories, focusing on a family metallurgical secret dating from the 17th century.

“Stairway to Redemption: America’s Encounter with the British Prison Treadmill,” in Technology and Culture, Journal of the Society for the History of Technology, Vol. 30 No. 4 (October 1989), pp. 908–938.

Reviews the history of the British prison treadmill and treadwheel, and explores its uneven introduction into the early American penal system in the 1820s.

“Footpower in the Developing World: An American Precedent?” in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage, Vol 2 No. 1 (1986), pp. 45–54.

Examines the rise of early American foot-powered machinery in the woodworking and metalcutting industries, speculating
on the transferability of such innovation to the modern developing world.

“The Jewish Way of Death,” Folklore Forum, Vol 29 No. 1 (1998), pp. 109–112.

Uses two sets of NMAH artifacts (coffins and ritual animal-killing knives) to compare and contrast Orthodox Jewish
approaches toward cleanliness, pain, life, and death.

“Keeping Time in Guyana,” with W. David Todd. Americas, Vol. 49 No. 6 (Nov–Dec 1997), pp. 6–13.

Encapsulates several years of work in the Republic of Guyana studying, repairing, and recording 19th-century tower clocks and bells. Addresses Guyanese perceptions of public timekeeping and time consciousness.

“The Material Culture of Ivory Outside Africa,” in Elephant, The Animal and Its Ivory in African Culture, edited by Doran H. Ross (Los Angeles: Fowler Museum, UCLA, 1992), pp. 366–381.

Chronicles the rise of the elephant ivory industry from Byzantine craft shops to 20th-century American comb, billiard
ball, and piano key factories.

"Charles Page, Daniel Davis, and Their Electromagnetic Apparatus." Rittenhouse, Vol. 2, No. 2: February 1988, pp. 34–47.

The American electrical scientist and inventor Charles G. Page and the Boston maker of didactic electromagnetic instruments Daniel Davis had a close working relationship for several years, beginning apparently in 1838. Davis made, sold, and described in his catalogues Page's inventions, often before Page himself published them in the scientific press, while Page benefited from Davis's mechanical skill and workshop facilities in the construction and testing of his new instruments.

"Charles Came, Itinerant Science Lecturer, and His 'Splendid Apparatus." Rittenhouse, Vol. 5, No. 4: August 1991, pp. 118–128.

An extensive and rich collection of demonstration apparatus, stage decorations, posters, handbills, and letters, acquired by NMAH, yields a detailed picture of the life and struggles of a minimally educated, but enthusiastic and hard-working, showman who traveled about the rural villages of upstate New York in the 1840s and 1850s, lecturing on electricity, astronomy, and other subjects. The collection and what it reveals about Came is important because very little is known about such rural lecturers and what they told and showed to their audiences.

"Heliostat" in Robert Bud and Deborah Jean Warner, eds., Instruments of Science. An Historical Encyclopedia. New York and London: The Science Museum and The National Museum of American History, 1998, pp. 305–308.

Before the development and widespread availability of convenient light sources operated by electricity, the sun was the best illuminant for optical experiments that required strong light. To provide a stationary beam of sunlight,
physicists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries invented a number of instruments that used clockwork mechanisms to move a mirror to compensate for the sun's apparent movement. The ingenuity and variety of principles embodied in these "heliostats" reveal how important the problem was considered to be.

"That Pleasing and Noble Branch of Philosophy:' The Electrical Lecture of Isaac Greenwood III." Rittenhouse, Vol. 5, No. 2: February 1991, pp. 46–52.

A broadside dated Providence, R.I., 1793 shows that Greenwood was giving a lecture on electricity, with demonstrations, that followed a tradition for such lectures already half a century old in America at that time.

"Joseph Henry's Contributions to the Electromagnet and the Electric Motor." Smithsonian Institution, The Joseph Henry Papers Project, 1999. (Earlier version in Rittenhouse, Vol.12, No. 4: October 1998, pp. 97–106.)

Henry constructed in 1830 the strongest electromagnet in the world; the principles he discovered in the process led him on to devise an electric motor. His spectacular magnets launched his scientific career, but in the case of his motor, his reluctance to be involved in non-scientific applications of his discoveries battled in his psyche with his need for credit and recognition, leading to a curious ambivalence.

"The Several Faces of Earth Induction." with Deborah Warner and Klaus Hentschel. Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society. No. 76, March 2003, pp. 30–34.

Instruments that used a spinning coil to generate an electric current by means of the earth's magnetic field, and to measure the angle of "dip" of that field, were developed soon after the discovery of electomagnetic induction, but were used for a variety of purposes and took on a multiplicity of forms. In general, the early ones were didactic and non-quantitative; later came more elaborate designs that could yield precise numerical data for geomagnetic research.

Octet, Op. 20, by Felix Mendelssohn; Octet, Op. 17, by Neils Gade (cellist). Smithsonian Chamber Players and L’Archibudelli. SONY Vivarte SK 48307, 1992.

CD recording, played on eight Stradivarius instruments from the collections of the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress (including the Smithsonian’s Ole Bull and Greffuhle violins, the Axelrod viola, and the Servais and Marylebone cellos), of Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet, arguably the most important work of its kind in the string repertoire, paired with his pupil Neils Gade’s similarly scored but little-known masterpiece. John Newsom, Chief of the Music Division of the Library of Congress, where Mendelssohn’s autograph score to the Octet resides, has contributed an accompanying essay discussing the works.

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