Barton C. Hacker

Barton C. Hacker


Ph.D., M.A., B.A., History, University of Chicago

Research Specialties: 

History of military technology; comparative history of military institutions; women's military history.

Role in Museum: 

Current Projects:

  • Co-authored book. Military Science: A Social History of American Military Technology. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, under contract.
  • Co-edited book. Science in Uniform: Science, Technology, and American Military Institutions, from the Revolution to the Present. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, under contract.
  • Co-edited book. Materializing the Military. Artefacts VI: Military Technology. London: Science Museum Press, under contract.
  • Article. "Natural Allies: The Navy, the Livermore Laboratory, and the Polaris Warhead." In Science, Technology, and American Military Institutions, from the Revolution to the Present, ed. Barton C. Hacker and Margaret Vining. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, forthcoming.
  • Conference co-organizer. "Women's Military History: Beyond the Stereotypes." Smithsonian Institution, Winter 2005-2006.
  • Conference panel organizer. "Museums and Military History." Society for Military History, Charleston, S.C., Feb. 2005.
  • Co-authored conference paper. "Nuclear Subs and West Point: The Rise and Fall of Two Exhibitions at the National Museum of American History." Organization of American Historians, Seattle, April 2005.
  • Book in progress. Military Technology, Military Institutions, and World History. AHA-SHOT Series in the History of Technology. Washington: American Historical Association.
  • Co-authored book and traveling exhibition in progress. Working title Observing the Great War: The Smithsonian Institution Collection of Combat Art from the First World War.
  • Co-authored book and exhibition in progress. Working title Out of the Shadows: Women's Military Work as Depicted in the Graphic Arts since the 15th Century.
  • Co-authored book in progress. Cutting a New Pattern: Mobilizing Women for War, 1854-1919.
  • Joint review of Warfare and Weaponry in South Asia 1000-1800, ed. Jos J. L. Gommans and Dirk H. A. Kolff; and Gunpowder and Firearms: Warfare in Medieval India, by Iqtidar Alam Khan. Technology and Culture, forthcoming.
  • Contributor to Tensions of Europe Project, working with an international team of scholars to study the impact of science and technology on 19th- and 20th-century Europe. The working title of my contribution is "Beyond War: The Ambiguous Consequences of Modern Western Military Technology."
  • Fellowship development. Working with a small group to identify resources leading to the establishment of Smithsonian fellowships in women's military history.

Past Projects:

  • Co-authored conference paper. "Instruments of Science: West Point Graduates and Scientific Instruments." Artefacts IX: Scientific Instruments, Utrecht, Oct. 2004.
  • Conference paper. "Firearms Cross the Atlantic: Military Technology Transfer and Adaptation in North America and West Africa." Society for History of Technology, Amsterdam, Oct. 2004.
  • Conference paper. "Warriors and Soldiers: Interacting Military Cultures in the European Conquest of America." American Society for Ethnohistory, Chicago, Oct. 2004.
  • Co-curator, 2003-2004. The Price of Freedom. Permanent renovation of the Armed Forces History Hall.
  • Project co-director and co-curator, 1998-2002. West Point in the Making of America, 1802-1918. U.S. Military Academy bicentennial exhibition. Oct. 2002-Jan. 2004.
  • Project director and co-curator, 1999-2000. The Armed Forces in America: From the Revolution to World War I, 1775-1919. May 2000-Jan. 2002.
  • Project director and co-curator, 1999-2000. Remembering War: Myth, Memorial, and Memory. May 2000-Jan. 2004.
  • Project director and co-curator, 1998-2000. Fast Attacks & Boomers: Submarines in the Cold War. U.S. Submarine Force centennial exhibition. April 2000-May 2003.
  • Organizer and co-chair. Symposium on "The Armed Forces Interacting with American Science and Technology, from the Revolution to the 21st Century." American Historical Association annual meeting, Washington, Jan. 2004.
  • Conference paper. "Against Mechanization: The Case Made by British Army Officers, 1919-1939." Institute of Contemporary British History, London, July 2003.
  • Co-authored conference paper. "Military Institutions, War, and Gender since the 18th Century: Reflections on Three Centuries of Historical Change." Colloquium "Geschlechter Kriege: Militär, Krieg und Geschlechterverhältnisse 1914-1949," Berlin, Oct. 1999.
  • Co-authored conference paper. "Military Material Culture at the Smithsonian: The National Firearms Collection and other Military Collections at the National Museum of American History." International Congress of the History of Technology, Granada (Spain), June 2002.
  • Co-authored conference paper. "Marching Orders: Military Bands, Uniforms, and the Late 19th-Century Militarization of Western Society." Artefacts VIII: Musical Technology, Vienna, Sept. 2003.
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 
  • 2003 Leonardo da Vinci Medal, Society for the History of Technology.
  • 1996 Richard W. Leopold Prize, Organization of American Historians.
  • 1993 Abbott Payson Usher Prize, Society for the History of Technology.
  • 1993 James Madison Prize, Society for History in the Federal Government.
  • 1991 Special Service Award, Society for the History of Technology.
  • 1972 Robert H. Goddard Essay Award of the National Space Club.
  • 1960 Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prize, University of Chicago.
Professional Affiliations: 
  • American Historical Association Life Member
  • Columbia History of Science Group (Chair Program Committee 1997-99; President 1998-2000)
  • History of Science Society
  • H-MINERVA (women and the military electronic discussion group) Editorial Board since 1996
  • H-WAR (military history electronic discussion group) Editorial Board since 1997
  • International Association of Museums of Arms and Military History
  • ICOHTEC: International Committee for the History of Technology (Chair Program Committee 2002-2004, member 2001-2004)
  • Organization of American Historians Life Member (Chair Leopold Prize Committee 1996-98)
  • Society for History in the Federal Government (Committee member John Wesley Powell Prize [Historic Preservation and Historical Display], 2004- )
  • Society for Military History
  • Society for the History of Technology (Chair Dexter Prize Committee 1998-99, member 1997-99; Chair Editorial Board of Technology and Culture 1993-1994, member 1989-94; Editor SMiTInG Newsletter 1986-2003; Founder and chair Military Technology Interest Group since 1985; Member Advisory Council 1983-88; Chair Robinson Prize Committee 1981-82, member 1979-84)
  • United States Commission on Military History (Chair Nominating Committee 2004- )
  • World Archaeological Congress
  • World History Association

Blog Posts


World Military History Annotated Bibliography: Premodern and Nonwestern Military Institutions and Warfare (Works published before 1967). History of Warfare, vol. 27. Leiden: Brill, 2005.

Annotated bibliography of works published before 1967.

"Objects in an Exhibition: Reflections on 'Fast Attacks and Boomers." In Materializing the Military. Artefacts VI: Military Technology, ed. Bernard Finn and Barton C. Hacker. London: Science Museum Press, in press

On several key objects in an exhibition on submarines in the Cold War and how they contributed to the exhibition theme

"Uniforms Make the Woman." with Margaret Vining. In Materializing the Military. Artefacts VI: Military Technology, ed. Bernard Finn and Barton C. Hacker. London: Science Museum Press, in press

In the 1920s, a Smithsonian exhibition of women's uniforms validated women's World War I contributions and expanded political roles.

“A Note on Sources: Remarks upon Receiving the Leonardo da Vinci Medal, 18 October 2003.” Technology and Culture 45 (2004): 137–41.

On the author’s intellectual history.

“Military Science.” In Cambridge History of Modern Science, vol. 8, Science in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, ed. David Livingstone and Ronald L. Numbers et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in press.

Links between military and scientific institutions expanded and intensified during the 19th and 20th centuries.

“Western Military Technology and East Asian Modernization in the 19th Century.” In Modernization in China and East Asia, 1850–1950, ed. Edouard Vermeer and Dong Zhenghue, in press.

Adoption of Western weapons played a key role in the modernization of East Asian states.

"Industrial Armies: From Industrial Revolution to World War." Acta of the International Congress of Military History, Rabat (Morocco), August 2004, in press

On the interaction of industrial and military institutions from the 18th century to World War I

“Out of the Shadows: Images of Women’s Military Work, 1500–1920,” with Margaret Vining. In War, Media and Military from Guteburg to Today, ed. M. E. Ionescu, 164-75. Bucharest: Military Publishing House, 2004.

Graphic images of women in military settings document women's changing military roles from the 16th century through World War I.

“Fast Attacks and Boomers: A Museum Presentation of Cold War Military History.” World Archaeology Congress, Washington, June 2003.

On the unusual organization of the exhibition team, stressing its efforts to display nuclear submarine development and operations in the context of the Cold War.

World Military History Bibliography: Premodern and Nonwestern Military Institutions and Warfare. History of Warfare, vol. 16. Leiden: Brill, 2003.

Annotated bibliography of works published 1967–97.

“The Convergence of History and Military Museums,” with Margaret Vining. In Acta of the Asociacion de amigos de los museos militares, Madrid, Nov. 2003, in press.

Military museums and history museums arose from distinct traditions, but in recent years have come increasingly to share common views on how to exhibition military history.

On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini, with James M. Grimwood. Washington: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2002. Reprint of 1977 edition.

Documented narrative history of the second U.S. manned spaceflight project during the 1960s.

“The World of Camp and Train: The Changing Role of Women in Early Modern Armies.” with Margaret Vining. In Sovereign Arms: Armies and Fleets in the World between Lepanto and the French Revolution, 1571–1789, Rome, 2002.

On the necessary and vital roles women served in supporting the activities of early modern armies.

West Point in the Making of America. with Margaret Vining. Irvington, N.Y.: Hydra, 2002.

Catalog of the West Point in the Making of America exhibition.

“From Camp Follower to Lady in Uniform: Women, Social Class and Military Institutions before 1920.” with Margaret Vining. Contemporary European History 10 (2001): 353–73.

Relationships between women and military institutions altered radically from the mid-19th century to World War I, reflecting the changing social status of both women and the military.

“Volunteers Inspired by Conscription: Uniformed Women in World War I.” with Margaret Vining. In Total War, Total Defense, 1789–1900, ed. Per Iko et al., 346–52. Stockholm: Svenska militärhistorika kommissionen, 2001.

Civilian women in large numbers volunteered for military-related health and welfare services in World War I, donning military-style uniforms as a symbolic claim to full citizenship.

"Science and Technology in the Nineteenth Century." In A Guide to the Sources of United States Military History: Supplement IV, ed.Robin Higham and Donald J. Mrozek, 82–117. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1998.

Bibliographical essay focused on recent scholarship on the interaction of science and technology with American military institutions in the 19th century.

"Military Technology and World History: A Reconnaissance." The History Teacher 30 (August 1997): 461–487.

Military technological innovation has profoundly influenced the course of world history since earliest times.

"Military Institutions, Weapons, and Social Change: Toward a New History of Military Technology." Technology and Culture 35 (1994): 768–834.

On the historiography of military technology, including the role of museums.

"Technology and Research." In Encyclopedia of the American Military, ed. John J. Jessup and Louise B. Ketz, 1373–1414. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994.

Overview of the development of American military technology, from colonial times to the present.

"Engineering and Science." In Encyclopedia of the American Military, ed John J. Jessup and Louise B. Ketz, 1415–44. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994.

Overview of relationships between science, engineering, and American military institutions, from colonial times to the present.

"Engineering a New Order: Military Institutions, Technical Education, and the Rise of the Industrial State." Technology and Culture 33 (1993): 1–27.

Military concerns greatly influenced the development of engineering and engineering education in the 18th and 19th centuries, with important consequences for 19th-century industrialization.

An Annotated Index to Volumes 1 through 25 of “Technology and Culture” 1959–1984. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991.

Includes author, title, and subject indexes, with annotation for all articles.

"Military Institutions and the Labor Process: Noneconomic Sources of Technological Change, Women's Subordination, and the Organization of Work." with Sally L. Hacker. Technology and Culture 28 (1987): 743–75.

Society and economy are as much products as causes of military and technological change.

"Women and Military Institutions in Early Modern Europe: A Reconnaissance." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 6 (1981): 643–71.

Women played important and indispensable military support roles in European and American armies from the 15th through the early 19th centuries.