Notes from a sometime historian of science, technology, and Canada
View my c.v. (pdf; and out of date).
From November 2001 until August 2006, I was a historical editor at the Thomas A. Edison Papers, a research unit of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey at New Brunswick/Piscataway. It's affiliated with the History Department, and also works in cooperation with the U. S. National Park Service's Edison National Historic Site, in West Orange, New Jersey.
My work dealt mainly with Edison during the World War I era, including his chemical manufacturing, Naval Consulting Board service and related war research, phonograph marketing, and general status as a cultural icon. This was published in Part V of the microfilm edition. I also worked on Edison's activities during the autumn of 1882 and winter of 1883, which included the installation of electrical generating stations and lighting systems in lower Manhattan and elsewhere. This material appears in Volume 6 of The Papers of Thomas A. Edison (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), for which I served as one of the co-editors.
I completed my Ph.D. in 2007 the Department of History, at Dalhousie University on Canada's Atlantic coast, and I once served as the volunteer webmaster (content manager) for the Canadian Historical Association / la Société historique du Canada.
My dissertation (defended 30 March 2007) is on Sir William E. Logan (1798-1875), a British-Canadian scientist who was the first director of the Geological Survey of Canada. A pdf version is available the National Library of Canada -- please note that this remains a fully copyrighted work. I also recommend the invaluable 1883 Life of Sir William E. Logan, by B. J. Harrington, a GSC chemist who knew Logan and had access to his personal papers.
Here is a scientific article on Logan's work at Joggins, Nova Scotia, that I co-authored with geologist Mike Rygel: "Such a section as never was put together before": Logan, Dawson, Lyell, and mid-Nineteenth-Century measurements of the Pennsylvanian Joggins section of Nova Scotia, Atlantic Geology 41 (2005).
Here are the two Library and Archives Canada web projects I worked on in early 2005:
- Written in Stone: William Logan and the Geological Survey of Canada (digital research collections)
- Life of a Rock Star (a virtual exhibition and education module for young people)
Many thanks to project manager Chris Kitzan for leading both of these so well.
Other things to read (mainly just because they are online):
The syllabus for "Canada: From New France to the 1960s," which I taught at Rutgers in Fall 2003.
An old paper of mine on William Logan's geological publications, written for the History of the Book in Canada spring 2001 conference.
And a brief history of how we went to New Jersey from Canada in 2001. From the Chronicle of Higher Education's online "Career Network," with a follow-up piece covering events through March 2003. As for the advice contained therein -- draw your own conclusions!
If you are reading this on a campus or library computer with access to the EBSCO journal article database, the following links will take you to some of my other publications:
- Rough Science in the Bush, an article on Logan for a popular Canadian history magazine;
- Gilbert, Translated, a research article on commemoration in the world of Victorian electricity;
- The World that Changed the Map, an essay review on British geology.