I was born in Boston, MA and spent my early years there and briefly in NYC before moving to the Los Angeles area. From there we also relocated to San Diego, the SF Bay area, and the inland East Bay for a number of years before moving back to the east coast. I attended the University of Maryland for my BA in history. I had completely fallen in love with the study of history immediately before enrolling at UMD while I was transitioning from a bad high school experience at a local community college called Montgomery College. I had two professors there, Dr. Joseph Thompson and Dr. Kurt Borkman, who helped me foster my interest into a life pursuit. These professors helped me hone some nascent talent I had for writing and supported me as I applied upwards towards a university career; a move that was not a foregone conclusion given my poor record in high school and some aimless years wasted.
While living in northern California for high school, I was very focused on developing a career in film, specifically in screen writing. I was obsessed with the language and movement of film and intoxicated with stories. Thankfully, I made it through my high school years with very little intoxication of other sorts. My troubles were with boredom, perhaps an undiagnosed learning disability, and many issues relating to my family's frequent moves which wreaked havoc on curricular stability and consistency.
My time at Montgomery College allowed me to transition to adult life and to take responsibility for my learning. I began to understand that what I was interested in, and what I simply had to get through. This focus then allowed me to enter UMD ready to learn and work. At the time, I was focused on 20th century American history; specifically on the New Deal era. Early in my time I was mentored by another professor who understood my passion for learning. On his advice, I took something of a pilgrimage to Hyde Park, NY to see the home and presidential library of FDR. This was a monumental personal journey as I took my first research trip and my first solo train trip through the beautiful Hudson valley. I felt like a traveler out of time as our engine sped past castles and cottages of Gilded Age mega wealth.
My flirtations with American history were not sustaining, however. Soon after this pivotal trip, I took three very important courses with three very important professors. The first was Dr. Julie Taddeo whose survey course on general modern British history convinced me that my main area of study was going to be Britain. From there I took a course on the English Revolution and one on the Tudor monarchy with Dr. Sabrina Baron, and a very important course on the British Empire with Dr. Anne Rush. At the same time, I was also taking multiple courses on English literature with Dr. Michael Olmert and Dr. Ingrid Satelmajer.
I finished my undergraduate experience, which I dwell on only to highlight the outsized importance this period had on my development, with a research course with the wonderful Dr. Richard Price who both intimidated me and nurtured me; despite usually calling me Jason. Dr. Price and I worked on a terrifically interesting project wherein I researched the political connectivity between the Irish and the Indian nationalist movements in each country's struggle for independence from Britain the in middle of the 20th c. This research allowed me to spend glorious hours in the Library of Congress reading room leafing through historical documents and nauseating periods in the microfilm room speeding through newspaper reels.
Despite my ambitions as a historian, I was urged to look into alternate academic careers as a result of the horrendous academic job market of the early 2000s; a state of affairs that has not much improved since then. In speaking with Eric Lindquist, a man who is now my colleague and friend, I was inspired to apply to library science programs in order to remain in the intellectual milieu in which I was enthralled by.
Following graduation in 2008, I applied to and was accepted to attend, Simmons College in Boston. In the interim before enrollment, I spent many months working in the information field (broadly defined) working for the NIST heath bay, Oxfam America, and a tech startup among other positions such as day jobs removing pizza ovens and other large items from the carcasses of the Great Recession's ravages.
My main plan of study at Simmons College focused on special collections, academic libraries, metadata, and rare books. As a result of this work I worked with Dr. Kathy Wisser on a research project focused on mechanics institute libraries and the patriarchal and didactic nature illustrated through their collections, founding documentation, and the philosophies of the period ascribed to by the associated industrial owners and the notions of self-improvement and self-help. I was able to publish this work and is listed on my publications page ("Improve the Moment").
For a narrative of my librarian positions, please see my CV and my Librarian pages on this site, as well as my publications page and the associated links, references, etc.
I began my PhD rather late, but I was accepted to the University of Maryland's history program to study Early Modern Europe. As I expand on in my Historian page, I began looking at the complex religio-political entanglements of religious dissenting groups, most notably the Waldensians and their support by the Cromwellian protectorate following a massacre at the hands of the forces of the Duke of Savoy in the north of Italy. For this project, I had been working with Dr. Stefano Villani. My interests have trended more global as of late, however, and I have also begun working with Dr. Holly Brewer to expand this topic into the Early Modern Atlantic world. My area of study focuses on the mid-seventeenth century and the development of the puritan settlements and the extension of Civil War conflicts in places like Providence Island and Maryland colonies.
In addition to my work I am a loving husband and father and I spend as much time as possible with my family when not bashing away at the keyboard. While I don't have many hobbies, I love to study art and art history in my spare time, visit museums, and travel. Additionally, I love music, wine, and walking our family dog, Rosie.