The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington welcomes our tenth class of research fellows for the 2022-23 academic year. Their research helps us better understand the history of colonial America, the Revolutionary era, and the early American republic. 

Learn More about the Mount Vernon Fellowship Program

Michael A. Blaakman, Ph.D.

Michael A. Blaakman, Ph.D.

The Simcoes: Enemies of the American Revolution

Blaakman is an assistant professor of history and the David L. Rike University Preceptor at Princeton University. His first book, Speculation Nation: Land Mania in the Revolutionary American Republic, is forthcoming from the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2023. At Mount Vernon, he will be working on a new project that traces the extraordinary lives of a globe-trotting British power couple, John Graves Simcoe and Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, to view the American Revolution and the republic it created through the eyes of some of its most persistent antagonists. Weaving the Simcoes’ story with those of the diverse people they encountered in North America and around the Atlantic world, the book will explore the many and sometimes contradictory reasons why people became enemies of the Revolution.  

Chloe Chapin

Chloe Chapin

Black & White: Fashioning Masculinity in the American Republic

Chloe Chapin is a former professional costume designer, now a PhD candidate in the American Studies program at Harvard University. In her dissertation she examines the origin of the modern suit at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and how sartorial conformity contributed to constructions of American masculinity. At Mount Vernon, she will be studying the legacy of George Washington's many portraits depicting him in a black and white suit (in dialogue with evidence from his correspondence with tailors of a more colorful wardrobe) and the lasting impact that these widely circulated images had on ideas of presidential style, American republicanism, and the relationship between masculine fashion and ideas of civility and democratic selfhood.

Timothy Davis, Ph.D.

Timothy Davis, Ph.D.

America’s Appian Way: The Evolving Landscape of the Mount Vernon Pilgrimage

As a historian for the U.S. National Park Service, Davis has focused on cultural landscape research, documentation, and preservation. He is the author of the prize-winning volume National Park Roads: A Legacy in the American Landscape along with numerous journal articles and anthology contributions. His project examines the evolving physical landscape and cultural resonance of the Mount Vernon pilgrimage.

Ramin Ganeshram

Ramin Ganeshram

Cooking Up Freedom

Ramin Ganeshram is the Executive Director of the Westport Museum for History & Culture in Connecticut and the author of The General's Cook a novel based on the life of Hercules Posey, the chef enslaved by George Washington. Her book-length project, Cooking Up Freedom, focuses on culinary professions and food commerce as networks of emancipation and entrepreneurial opportunity for enslaved and newly free persons in the 18th and 19th century.  At Mount Vernon she will be examining culinary networks among enslaved persons who cooked for or provisioned George Washington troops during the Revolutionary War and for his presidential households in New York and Philadelphia.

Evan Haefeli, Ph.D.

Evan Haefeli, Ph.D.

George Washington, Anti-Popery, and the Making of Early America

Evan Haefeli is an historian of colonial North America and the Atlantic world at Texas A&M University. His research primarily focuses on the religious and political origins of early America. he is the author of Accidental Pluralism: America and the Religious Politics of English Expansion, 1497-1662 (2020), among other books and articles.

Haefeli's project highlights the role of anti-Catholicism and anti-popery in the ideology and early history of Virginia and the United States. In numerous ways, anti-popery helped early Americans of all sorts negotiate the transition from being British to American by providing them with a clear sense of what they stood against, even when they disagreed about what they stood for.

Recipient of The Lily Endowment Religious Studies Fellowship

Kate Haulman, Ph.D.

Kate Haulman, Ph.D.

Monumental Motherhood: Mary Washington and the Founding Past during the Nineteenth Century

Kate Haulman is Associate Professor of History at American University. She is the author of The Politics of Fashion in Eighteenth-Century America, winner of the 2011 Berkshire Prize, co-editor of Making Women’s Histories: Beyond National Perspectives, and has co-curated and consulted on exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Her current book, under contract with Oxford University Press, is Monumental Motherhood: Mary Washington and the Founding Past during the Nineteenth Century, which investigates the long afterlife of Mary Ball Washington, George’s mother, in public commemoration.

David C. Hsiung, Ph.D.

David C. Hsiung, Ph.D.

The Military Metabolism of the American Revolution

David C. Hsiung is Professor of History at Juniata College, in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Two Worlds in the Tennessee Mountains: Exploring the Origins of Appalachian Stereotypes

Hsiung will use the fellowship to write a book on the environmental history of the War of Independence. Just as all living organisms need energy to maintain their metabolisms, armed forces also have metabolisms that relentlessly consume energy. How did the Continental Army and local militias, as well as the British Army and Navy, acquire and use energy in order to train, maneuver, and fight? The way they did this affected not only ecosystems both proximate and distant, but also popular support for the war, the outcomes of battles, and the direction of the Revolution.

Philip Levy, Ph.D.

Philip Levy, Ph.D.

Westmoreland Gothic: The Washington Family and the Virginia Ordeal

Philip Levy is a Professor of History at the University of South Florida. 2022 will see the release of two new books of his, The Permanent Resident: Excavations and Explorations of George Washington’s Life, and Yard Birds: The Lives and Times of America’s Urban Chickens. His other books include George Washington Written Upon the Land: Nature, Memory, Myth, and Landscape (2015), and Where the Cherry Tree Grew: The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington’s Boyhood Home (2013). His current project builds on research done for the George Washington Birthplace National Monument (NPS) and is a new version of the Washington family story from the 1630s to the early nineteenth century. His project inverts the way the story has been told by centering the experiences of enslaved people, servants, Native American, and women and thus rethinking George Washington's family background and upbringing.    

Susan Brynne Long

Susan Brynne Long

"The disagreeable situation in between the Civil and the Military”: Prisoner of War Management in the American Revolution

Long is a Ph.D. Candidate in early American history at the University of Delaware. Her dissertation explores how civil and military authorities worked with civilians to manage prisoners of war during the early years of the American Revolution. Long argues that as the Continental Army militarized its functions, ordinary Americans became increasingly alienated from common defense. Her research at Mount Vernon will focus on George Washington’s role in the prisoner management network and his views on the civilian control of military doctrine.

Jennifer Jones Marler

Jennifer Jones Marler

Free Black Women and Wage Work at Mount Vernon

Marler is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina. She has a Master’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in Teaching from Georgia Southern University. In her research, she studies the free Black population of the south from the late colonial period through the early national period. Marler aims to research free Black women who worked for wages at Mount Vernon and neighboring properties early in the nineteenth century. She further aims to explore kinship ties that linked free Black women to the enslaved inhabitants of Mount Vernon.

Whitney A. Martinko, Ph.D.

Whitney A. Martinko, Ph.D.

The Corporate Origins of Cultural Property in the Early United States

Martinko is an Associate Professor of History at Villanova University and the author of Historic Real Estate: Market Morality and the Politics of Preservation in the Early United States (Penn Press, 2020). Her current research investigates why residents of the early United States regularly turned to corporate ownership of objects of collective significance and what effects incorporation had on the valuation of “permanent collections” that came to be known as cultural property. You can read more about her work at www.whitneymartinko.com.

Recipient of the James C. Rees Entrepreneurship Fellowship

Adam McNeil

Adam McNeil

“I Would Not Go With Him”: Black Women’s Wartime Survival and Resistance in the Chesapeake during the American Revolution and War of 1812

Adam McNeil is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Rutgers University focusing on Black Women’s lives during the Revolutionary and Founding eras in the Chesapeake Bay. His scholarship focuses on how enslaved women were key contributors to the Chesapeake’s culture of rebelliousness during the Age of Revolutions, which centers the region as a critical site of slave insurrection and revolutionary activity during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

His research has been supported by the University of Michigan’s Clements Library, the David Center for the American Revolution at the American Philosophical Society, and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture (OI). He regularly contributes to academic blogs Black Perspectives and The Junto, along with interviewing nearly one hundred scholars on the New Books in African American Studies podcast.

Johann Nuru Neem, Ph.D.

Johann Nuru Neem, Ph.D.

Public Work: The Daily Life of American Democracy, 1780s-1850s

Neem is Professor of History at Western Washington University. He is the author of three books: What’s the Point of College? Seeking Purpose in an Age of Reform (2019), Democracy’s Schools: The Rise of Public Education in America (2017), and Creating a Nation of Joiners: Democracy and Civil Society in Early National Massachusetts (2008). With Joanne B. Freeman, he is editor of the recent volume Jeffersonians in Power (2019). He is currently co-editor of the Journal of the Early Republic. Neem’s new research seeks to uncover the ways that ordinary Americans of all backgrounds contributed their time and labor to support the daily work of democracy.

Marina Elizabeth Nye

Marina Elizabeth Nye

Beyond Repair: Sartorial Repurposing and Reuse in the Washington Family (1750-1950)

Nye is a Ph.D. student in History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation explores the physical acts of alteration, repurposing, and reuse that were common practice with sartorial goods in North America between 1750 and 1830. Nye's research at Mount Vernon will focus on the various forms of sartorial repurposing and reuse that went on in the Washington household by utilizing the library's extensive collection of surviving textiles. 

Alec Zuercher Reichardt, Ph.D.

Alec Zuercher Reichardt, Ph.D.

War for the Interior: Empires & Communications in the Struggle for North America

Reichardt is an assistant professor of History and Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri. His research revolves around the intersections of eighteenth-century European and Indigenous peoples, networks, and empires. Reichardt’s current book project maps the long Seven Years' War for the American Interior and reconstructs the inter-imperial, infrastructural roots of the American Revolution. This work has also received support from the Embassy of France, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Huntington Library, the American Philosophical Society, among others.

Recipient of the Society of Colonial Wars Fellowship

Helena Yoo Roth

Helena Yoo Roth

American Timelines: Imperial Communications, Colonial Time-Consciousness, and the Coming of the American Revolution

Roth is a Ph.D. candidate in American History at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research examines how the rhythms and structures of eighteenth-century transatlantic communications—with its long silences punctuated with sudden bursts of information—shaped political consciousness and action. She studies how American colonists developed a particular time-consciousness in the aftermath of the Seven Years War that sensitized them to the emerging boundary between nation and empire and the growing distinction between province and colony in the British Empire. Roth received her B.A. in American Studies from Columbia University.

Rachel A. Shelden, Ph.D.

Rachel A. Shelden, Ph.D.

The Political Supreme Court: Justices, Partisanship, and Power in the Nineteenth Century

Shelden is Associate Professor of History and Director of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State University. She is the author of Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2013) and co-editor of A Political Nation: New Directions in Mid-Nineteenth Century American Political History (University of Virginia Press, 2012).

Her work sits at the intersection of political, cultural, and constitutional history with a particular focus on how personal relationships and networks influence governance. Shelden's current project explores the political world of Supreme Court justices from the era of John Marshall and Bushrod Washington to the late-nineteenth century.

Recipient of the James C. Rees Fellowship on the Leadership of George Washington

Darci L. Tucker

Darci L. Tucker

Revolutionary Women

Tucker is a museum educator, professional storyteller, and author of Embodying the Story: a step-by-step guide to being someone you aren’t.  She has researched and portrayed more than 20 women from American history.  Her 3-character play, "Revolutionary Women,” explores the issues and events that led to the American Revolution, wartime conditions, women’s contributions to the war effort, and the importance of active citizenship.  She has performed it for more than 37,000 students nationwide, and will use her time at Mount Vernon to turn it into a Middle Grade book.  

Emily Wells

Emily Wells

“Keep Within Compass”: Geography and Girlhood in the American South, 1783-1865

Wells is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at William & Mary. Her dissertation explores how elite, white girls navigated the affective geographies that shaped Southern society during the early national and antebellum periods. Using manuscripts and material objects, she examines how girls reproduced, resisted, and reconfigured the affective and physical boundaries of whiteness, gentility, youth, femininity, and heterosexuality; in short, how they established their “place” within Southern society.

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