Jenna Tonn

Ph.D. Candidate
Department of the History of Science
Harvard University

2012-2013 Dissertation Research Fellow

The Show-Room and the Workshop: The Laboratory within the Natural History Museum and the Development of American Biology, 1850 – 1935

Abstract: Through archival research and a close attention to interdisciplinary methods in the history of science, the history of architecture, and material culture, my dissertation reconstructs the American natural history museum as a unique site for the practice of modern biology between 1850 and 1935. Using two case studies – the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and the Smithsonian U. S. National Museum – this project provides new insights into how the practice of experimental biology emerged from and inscribed itself on to the natural history museum. Reading the archival material germane to institutional histories of science (museum records, correspondence, curatorial reports, personal papers, and specimen accessioning records) against those often used to write architectural history (blue prints, construction photos, and architectural records) results in a rich and textured understanding of the spatial context in which knowledge about the natural world was produced.

Read Jenna’s report on her PACHS-sponsored research here.

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Fellows News and Notes

March 4, 2014

Morbid Propensities: Suicide, Sympathy, and the Making of American Eugenics

February 27, 2014

“It is my wish to behold Ladies among my hearers”: Early American Women and Scientific Practice, 1720-1860

January 2, 2014

Cross-Atlantic Fertilizations: Women’s Horticultural Education at Ambler, Pennsylvania

October 10, 2013

Printing skulls: the transatlantic publication and reception of Crania Americana (1839)

October 1, 2013

Degeneration in Miniature: Cell Death and Aging Research in the Twentieth Century

October 1, 2013

The American Idiot Schools: Disability and Segregation in the Nineteenth Century

October 1, 2013

The Psychotechnics of Everyday Life: Hugo Münsterberg and the Politics of Applied Psychology, 1892-1920

July 23, 2013

Seizing Science and Technology: American, British, and French Efforts to Take German Technology During and Following the Second World War

July 22, 2013

Benjamin H. Latrobe’s Philadelphia Waterworks: Republican Emblem and Democratic Instrument of Healthy Equilibrium

July 18, 2013

A Reinterpretation of American Institutions for the Feeble-minded , 1875-1920:  the development of a “bureaucracy of care”

June 6, 2013

The Show-Room and the Workshop: The Laboratory within the Natural History Museum and the Development of American Biology, 1850-1935

March 28, 2013

Fellow Update: Christopher Jones

December 6, 2012

PACHS Postdoctoral Fellow Rebecca Onion receives the 2012 HSS Reingold Prize

December 6, 2012

The Sciences of Observation and their use in the development of the United States, 1770-1820

December 4, 2012

Fellow Update: Susan Hanket Brandt

December 3, 2012

Fellow Update: Kurt MacMillan, Chris Heaney and Ben Breen

December 2, 2012

Fellows Update: Joanna Radin and Kurt MacMillan

December 1, 2012

Fellows Update: Andrew Berns and Terry Christensen

November 13, 2012

The Republic of Fever: Commerce, Warfare and the Making of Warm Climate Medicine in the Age of Atlantic Revolutions

November 6, 2012

Prediction and Control: Global Population Projection in the Twentieth Century

October 31, 2012

Radium Therapy in America, 1898-1939

September 13, 2012

The Opulent City and the Sylvan State:  Art and Environmental Embodiment in Early National Philadelphia

June 12, 2012

Andean Afterlives: the Hemispheric Circulation of the Pre-Columbian Dead and Peruvianist Anthropology, 1780-1948

May 24, 2012

Bridging the Disjunction: Asa Gray and the Botanical Exchanges between East Asia and North America

April 3, 2012

The Salubrious Sea: Marine Hospitals, the Environment, and the Health of American Urban Children, 1870-1930.

February 21, 2012

Gifted Women and Skilled Practitioners: Gender and Healing Authority in the Mid-Atlantic Region, 1740-1830

January 19, 2012

“Experiment and Good Sense Must Direct You”: the Social Relations of Health, Healing and Knowledge-Making in Eighteenth-Century Plantation America.

December 8, 2011

Fellow Update: Karin Eckholm

November 1, 2011

Aid, Incorporated: American Medical Relief to China and the Development of Medical Diplomacy, 1937-1949

October 20, 2011

Making Museums of Medical History

April 8, 2011

Entangled Knowledge, Expanding Nation

February 22, 2011

Iron Curtain, Iron Lungs

February 15, 2011

Lavoisier as Historian of Chemistry and Philosopher of Science

January 13, 2011

Crafting the Two Cultures: Identifying and Educating Future Scientists and Non-Scientists in America, 1910–1970

June 10, 2010

Visiting Fellow:  Terry Christensen

June 2, 2010

The Social Relevance of Studying Domestication in the Early 20th Century

December 4, 2009

The Natural Science of the Biblical World in Late Renaissance Italy

November 12, 2009

Isolating Liberty: The Home, the Prison, and the Asylum in Antebellum Literature

October 6, 2009

Generation and its Problems: Harvey, Highmore and Their Contemporaries

September 21, 2009

Hidden Waters: Groundwater Histories of Iran and the Mediterranean

September 10, 2009

Energy Highways:  Canals, Pipes, and Wires Transform the Mid-Atlantic Region, 1820-1930

June 22, 2009

Deviant Women, Toxic Bodies: Eugenics and Public Health in the United States, 1900-1950

June 11, 2009

Cultures of Collection in Late Nineteenth Century Natural History

February 11, 2009

Vertebrate Paleontology and the Evolutionary Synthesis, 1894-1944