New Projects


New Projects

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Sister ScientiSTS: Margaretta Hare Morris & Elizabeth Carrington Morris

“Sister Scientists” is a book project that will reconstruct the intimate lives of two remarkable but forgotten women who contributed to the fields of botany and entomology. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, Margaretta Hare Morris (1797-1867) and Elizabeth Carrington Morris (1795-1865) turned their backyard into a laboratory where they made significant discoveries that impacted scientific and agricultural knowledge in the mid-nineteenth century. By looking at their biographies as well as their work, readers will come away with a greater understanding of the history of women, the natural sciences on the brink of professionalization, and the complications of knowledge production in a scientific community that at once embraced and viciously critiqued these women and their work. 

A Truly urban tree: the Ailanthus in American cities

Today reviled as invasive, the Ailanthus tree was once celebrated as a delightfully fast-growing and elegant  city tree during the early nineteenth century, lining newly paved streets and resisting omnipresent inchworms that infested so many urban trees. However, once its rank smell began to dominate urban air each June, it quickly fell out of favor, and critics tagged it as a filthy foreign invader. By looking at the complicated history of this persistent tree that would eventually gain fame in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, this project will reveal the changing understandings of urban nature.

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