I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania in the rolling hills of the great valley province – also known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
I ventured north to New England as an undergrad where I learned how to ice fish and read landscapes at the University of New Hampshire. Under the influence of great works of history, dusty archives, and kind advisers I decided to pursue a graduate degree in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After a few detours, I began working on a masters thesis on political and cultural debates over the fluoridation of water in the 1950s. This research lead me to a group of commercial and non-commercial publishing groups that spread concerns about toxic chemical exposures in the postwar era.
One of those publishers, the Rodale Press, was foundational in promoting organic gardening and farming in the United States. Rodale was also located outside of Allentown, PA, which brought me and my interests back to where they began. In studying a publishing company, I became more interested in the intersection of print culture in the mid-twentieth century and the emergence of the environmental movement – a subject that continues to turn up new insights into human relationships with the environment. My book manuscript-in-process, based partly on my dissertation, will use the story of J.I. Rodale and his firm to explore the historical origins of “green” consumer culture.
After completing my Ph.D I joined UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies as a visiting assistant professor before joining the Washington College faculty as a teaching fellow in Environmental Science and Studies.