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I study religion and culture in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States. I have a strong interest in revealing the religious diversity of American communities and moving away from the longstanding academic emphasis on Protestantism. My dissertation explores nineteenth-century Spiritualism and the movement's implications for science and liberal religious practices in the U.S. I retain side interests in digital history, politics, East Asia, space travel, and music.
September 2019 - May 2020
The William Blake Archive
- Formatted a Blake poem using Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines in Oxygen XML Editor; consulted on the website’s marginalia transcription display; reviewed digital humanities software; blogged for the project website; and participated in group proofreading sessions for the XML edition of Blake’s The French Revolution (published May 2020). URL: http://www.blakearchive.org/staticpage/archiveataglance?p=credits
June 2017 - June 2018
- Began project as a PhD student in RELC 591, “PhD Readings in Religion,” fall 2016. Salaried research assistant, Jun. 2017–Jun. 2018. Took over the project after Prof. Guillory’s departure in 2018. Finished the website with Mellon Fellowship support in 2019–20. Collaborated with library staff, undergraduate researchers, and community stakeholders. Edited all website content. Trained in WordPress, Omeka, ArcGIS, web hosting, archival scanning, file management and compression, and d
"Often melancholy, prone to reflection, Abner took religious inquiry seriously. His journal contains mystical inclinations and shows his skill as a hermeneute, or curator of religious literature, as Abner manipulates five genres — political treatise, story, sermon, devotional, and guidebook — to convey his ideas.... I begin with a joint biography o...
This paper examines the collaborative project to preserve and interpret Har Hasetim, the Gladwyne Jewish Memorial Cemetery. In fall 2015, Villanova University professor Craig Bailey approached the Friends of the Cemetery, an organization affiliated with the local Beth David Reform Congregation, about jointly restoring Har Hasetim. The ensuing proje...
This paper is an object biography of the dime novel Mormonism Exposed, considering the book in relation to dime novels and American Mormonism. Published in 1896 by the genre fiction publisher J. Regan & Co., Mormonism Exposed embodies common nineteenth-century traditions of dime novel publishing and salacious anti-Mormon rhetoric. By studying this...
This paper provides a critical analysis of Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, the companion book for the hit PBS series produced by Campbell and Bill Moyers. Written to coincide with The Power of Myth’s twenty-fifth anniversary, this paper considers the relevance of Campbell’s book to the secular study of religion in the modern academy. The paper...
Essay published in The American Historian no. 28 (June 2021): 22–24, https://www.oah.org/tah/issues/2021/the-state-of-graduate-education/coming-back-from-covid-the-grad-student-perspective/.
Review of "The Myth of Disenchantment" by Jason Josephson-Storm for the Bulletin of the British Association for the Study of Religions.
Report on the April 1, 2017, Seminar in American Religion, featuring Dr. John McGreevy's new book on American Jesuits and the world, at the University of Notre Dame Cushwa Center.
Review of "After Appomattox" by Gregory P. Downs.
Review of "The Ordeal of the Reunion" by Mark Wahlgren Summers.
Discussion of archiving primary sources and using digital tools to conduct historical research during political instability. Published on Megan Kate Nelson.com (Historista).
A synthetic article summarizing my earlier dime novel research, my involvement in digitizing religious pulp literature at Villanova University, and ideas for the future of the field.
Republican Senator Kenneth Keating had an illustrious career in 20 th-century American government, but he has never been the subject of a full-length biography. This paper constitutes a first step toward restoring Keating to his proper place in historiographic literature. Using extensive primary sources, culled from both online databases and the Ke...
Published by the University of Rochester Libraries, Dept. of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation: https://rbscp.lib.rochester.edu/4906.
Although an obscure text today, Ned Buntline's The Black Avenger of the Spanish Main was a bestselling dime novel in the 1800s. This paper seeks to understand the influence of Black Avenger on pirate fiction and Mark Twain, who repeatedly references Buntline's story in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In the plot of Black Avenger, Buntline depicts pir...
Although Franklin Roosevelt is described as a great presidential communicator, the precise details of his rhetoric – his use of multiple media outlets, his revision of speechwriters' material to match his own voice, his ability to espouse detailed and literate comments on the spot – usually escape close analysis. Historians cite his great speeches,...
Transcription of a letter by E.W. Capron from the Post Family Papers Project (https://rbsc.library.rochester.edu/).
The original letter that I transcribed. C/o the Dept. of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation: http://www.lib.rochester.edu/IN/RBSCP/ATTACHMENTS/D200_07_2_1863.pdf.
I discovered George Breck's account of the Battle of Gettysburg in the University of Rochester Dept. of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation. With the support of the librarians, I transcribed the complete letter and wrote a short essay on its significance. A complete scan of the letter exists at: http://www.lib.rochester.edu/IN/RBSCP/ATTACHMENTS/D200_07_2_1863.pdf.