Alexandra Lord

Alexandra Lord

Chair

A.B., Vassar College

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison

J. Elliot Royer Post-Doctoral Fellow in the History of Health Sciences, University of California, San Francisco.

Research Specialties: 

My scholarly interests are broad-ranging.  I’m especially interested in the practice and culture of eighteenth-century medicine, the history of public health (especially since the founding of the Public Health Service in 1798), the ways in which diseases related to women and children have been understood, and the intersections between cultural taboos and medicine.    

Role in Museum: 

I oversee the Division of Medicine and Science.  There are over 100,000 objects within the Division and they range from an eighteenth-century surgical kit associated with the Revolutionary War to Maria Mitchell's telescope to Bill Nye's lab coat.  

By preserving, researching, and sharing these objects both online and through exhibits, curators and staff in the Division seek to promote a better understanding of the history of medicine and science.       

Projects: 

Book: 

Condom Nation: The U.S. Government’s Sex Education Campaign from World War I to the Internet (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).
▫ British Medical Association Award: Best Popular Book on Medicine, 2010.
▫ British Medical Association Award:  Best Book Furthering Understanding of Science and Medicine, 2010.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

▪ “The Root of All Knowledge,” The New Normal: Navigating the 21st Century PhD, Book Chapter, (Currently Under Review with Rutgers University Press).

▪ “Dangerous Waters: A Typhoid Scare in the Capital,” Washington History, Fall, 2018.

▪ “’Cheat the Hospitals, Poorhouses, and Insane Asylums of the Future:’ Schooling Americans on Health, 1880-1920,” (currently being revised for publication). 

▪ “‘Naturally Clean and Wholesome:’ Women, Sex Education, and the United States Public Health Service, 1918-1928,” Social History of Medicine, Winter, 2004.

▪ “Learning the Washington Way:’ The United States Public Health Service and the Problem of Sex Education, 1919-1996,” Occasional Papers of the Society of History in the Federal Government, March, 2004.

▪ “Models of Masculinity: Sex Education, the YMCA, and the United States Public Health Service, 1918-1924,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Spring, 2003.

▪ “‘The Great Arcana of the Deity:’ Menstruation in Eighteenth-Century British Medical Thought,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Spring, 1998. 

Winner: Richard Harrison Shryock Medal, American Association for the History of Medicine.

Articles on Public History

▪ “Putting History to Work,” Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Public History (Renmin University, Beijing, China).  Translation pending.

▪ “Finding Connections,” The Public Historian, Spring 2017, Vol. 40, No. 2, (May 2018), pp. 9-22.

▪ "Writing for History Buffs," The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 11, 2012.

▪  “Changing History,” Co-authored with Michelle McClellan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 13, 2011.

▪ “The View from Outside the Ivory Tower,” Perspectives, January, 2005.

Articles on Graduate Education Reform

▪ “Don’t Reform Graduate Education in a Vacuum,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 28, 2013.

▪ “Location, Location, Location,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 12, 2012.

▪“Our Secret Nonacademic Histories,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 26, 2012.

▪ “The Sweet Spot,” (Solicited), The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 3, 2012.

▪ “Sharing the Driving,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 13, 2011.

▪ “And If You Just Don’t Go?” The Chronicle of Higher Education May 18, 2010.

▪ “Whose Job Is It Anyway?” The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 4, 2010.

▪ “Plan B,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 13, 2009. (Chosen to be included in a pending print publication [2018] by The Chronicle of Higher Education).

▪ “An Object Lesson,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 1, 2007. 

▪ “Conference Confidential,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 30, 2007.

▪ “Outside, Over There,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 13, 2005.

▪ “The View from Outside the Ivory Tower,” Perspectives, January, 2005.

Exhibits

▪ Project Director, In Sickness and In Health, 2019.

▪ Curator, Guardians at the Gate: Ellis Island and the Public Health Service, Web Exhibit, Office of the Public Health Service Historian, 2008.

▪ Curator, The Great Pandemic of 1918-1919, Exhibit Done in Conjunction with The Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, 2007. 

▪ Curator, Uniform Standards: Nursing Within the Public Health Service, Traveling Exhibit, 2007.

▪ Curator, Protecting the Nation’s Health: The Public Health Service, Traveling Exhibit (Exhibited in Detroit, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, and Oakland), 2005.

▪ Curator, Answering the Nation’s Call: The Cadet Nurse Corps, Department of Health and Human Service, 2005.

▪ Curator, On Guard Against Disease: The Commissioned Corps, Department of Health and Human Services, 2003.

▪ Curator, A Great and Terrible Scourge: The Battle to Eradicate Smallpox, The National Library of Medicine, 2002.

Professional Affiliations: 
  • Board of Directors (Serving as Past President), National Council on Public History.  2018-2020.
  • President, National Council on Public History.   2016-2018.