Profile profile for stephensc
M.A. University of Delaware, Hagley Fellow
B.A. Muhlenberg College
- History of U.S. science and technology
- Cultural history of time
- History of robots and automatons
- History of acoustic recorded sound
Manuscript in progress:
- History of the electronic wristwatch
Exhibitions in progress:
- Elephants and Us: Considering Extinction, opened November 2019
- Time and Navigation: the Untold Story of Getting from Here to There, opened at the National Air and Space Museum, March 2013
- "Hearing History: Saving Sound Recordings from Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory
Exhibitions at the National Museum of American History:
- "Hear My Voice": Alexander Graham Bell and the Origins of Recorded Sound (opened January 2015), curator
- Looking Ahead: Robots on the Road? (opened November 2008), curator
- On Time (opened November 1999), chief curator and project director
- Science in American Life (opened April 1994), deputy chief curator
- Inventing Sound Recording: Emile Berliner, the Gramophone, and the Disk Record (opened 1988), curator
- Inventing Standard Time (opened 1983), curator and project manager
- The Clockwork Universe (opened 1980), principal assistant
- 1876 (opened 1976), participating assistant
- A Nation of Nations (opened 1976), participating assistant
At the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University (January to June 1989):
- The Most Reliable Time: Clockwork Technology and Astronomy in 19th-Century America, guest curator
- Smithsonian Scholarly Studies grant, 1985, 2003, 2012
- Dibner Award, Society for the History of Technology for On Time, 2001
- Huntington Fellowship, 2003 and 2012
- Smithsonian Women's Committee Grant, 2016
- Grammy Foundation Grant, 2011 and 2016
- Save America's Treasures grant, 2019
- Society for History of Technology (Executive Council, 1997–2000)
- History of Science Society
- IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society
- IEEE Robotics and Automation Society
- Institute of Navigation
Book that accompanies the NMAH exhibition of the same title.
History of the earliest quartz watches made in Switzerland, Japan and the United States. The full text of this article has been posted on the Web site of the IEEE’s UFFC Society.
Essay on the history of collecting and exhibiting timepieces at the Smithsonian Institution.
Web site article exploring the shift from pocket watches to wristwatches in the early 20th century, and the subsequent shift to electronic timekeeping in the 1970s.
Essay on the relationship of object and archival collections at the Smithsonian Institution, with special emphasis on recent collecting.
Essay on the battles involved in presenting the history of science in an exhibition at the National Museum of American History during the “culture wars.”
Key themes and objects in NMAH exhibition Science in American Life for a German audience.
Essay on the experience and utility of recording operating machinery and employee interviews for documenting technical, nonverbal thinking.
Highlights booklet containing photos and descriptions of twenty of the most interesting clocks in the collections of the Smithsonian.
Article about the period between 1839 and 1865, when the observatory provided the U.S. federal government with observations for determining basic latitudes and longitudes and offered the local community a time service.
Research note describing records at the U.S. National Archives rich in information about the use of instruments during the mid 19th-century.
Describes the 19th-century phenomenon of very large clocks depicting scenes from American history, with special emphasis on one in NMAH’s collections.
Describes the use of the telegraph and development of special technologies for sending time signals for commercial, industrial and community purposes.
Describes the growth of a time service and a standard time for New England in the mid-19th century in response to the needs of regional railroads and the availability of reliable time from the Harvard College Observatory.
Outlines the interlocking interests of a Boston watch and clock firm with the Harvard College Observatory in the mid-19th century.
Describes office furnishings and machines developed in response to the growing needs of an expanding federal bureaucracy.
Survey of historically significant typewriters and calculators in Smithsonian collections for a German audience.
Brief survey of time signals distributed by telegraph, with special emphasis on the Harvard College Observatory.
Booklet that accompanied a temporary NMAH exhibition of the same name.