Publications & Talks


Mary Follet; Francis Follet; Eliza, 1823, 1826, Follet Family Sampler, Museum of
Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winston Salem, NC

The Follet Sampler at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts,” The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, (Feb 1, 2022)

 “Appearance of a Steeped Vat,” Treatise on the Process and Manufacture of Fine Indigo, 1832. British Library

“Skimming Maggots and Listening for Bubbles: Sensing Time in Maker’s Spaces,American Philosophical Society Library Blog, (August 15, 2022)

Book & Digital Project Reviews

George Graham. 1725-1750. Cylinder watch in silver case no.5223, Science Museum Group, London

Review of Edward Town and Angela McShane, eds. Marking Time: Objects, People, and their Lives, 1500-1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020). H-Material Culture (July 2021)

Scottish Court of Sessions Digital Archive Project

Review of James P. Ambuske, Randi Flaherty, Loren Moulds, Cecilia Brown, Kate Boudouris, Scottish Court of Sessions Digital Archive Project, The University of Virginia Law Library, (accessed April 4, 2021). History: The Journal of the Historical Association (May 2021)

Review of Bronwen Everill, Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020). Reviews in History (April 2021)

Le Masurier. 1775. A Mulatto Woman with Her White Daughter Visited by Negro Women in Their House in Martinique. Ministere d l’Outre Mer, Paris.

Review of Christine Walker, Jamaica Ladies: Female Slaveholders and the Creation of Britain’s Atlantic Empire (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2020). H-Nationalism (December 2020)

Johan Zoffany. 1786. Colonel Blair with his Family and an Indian Ayah. Tate, London.

Review of Kate Retford, The Conversation Piece: Making Modern Art in Eighteenth-Century Britain (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017). Reviews in History (February 2018)

Dress. Silk gown made by Eliza Lucas Pinckney. Detail view. 2008.0002.001.

Review of Ben Marsh, Unravelled Dreams: Silk and the Atlantic World 1500-1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020). Agricultural History, Vol. 95, No. 3 (Summer 2021), pp. 542-545.

Digital Humanities Essays & Blog Posts

Exhibition detail. Photo by the author.

You Just Had to Be There? Thoughts on Transcription, Inventories, and Materiality in Understanding Carlton House.” Georgian Papers Programme Blog, Royal Collection Trust (February 4, 2020)

Learning to Stretch the Digital Vellum: Digital Literacy and the Production of Humanist Scholarship.Uncommon Sense – The Blog, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, William & Mary (October 11, 2018)

Lectures & Talks

What Time is it? Recipe Collections, Time, and Eighteenth-Century Maker’s Spaces. The Connecticut Historical Society. February 2023.

The clock may feel ever present in our lives. However, many of the tasks we do every day rely not on the second hand but on our senses to “know time.” A recipe can tell us to simmer our soup for 15 minutes, but that mechanical measure flies out the window if the taste, temperature, or consistency isn’t right. Across the Anglo-Atlantic world in the long 18th century, craftspeople, artisans, and makers also relied on their senses to “know time.” In this talk, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (NERFC) Fellow Alexandra M. Macdonald will draw from both the museum and archival collections at the Connecticut Historical Society to explore the myriad ways people used their eyes, ears, tongue, hands, and nose to “regard the signs” in maker’s spaces in the long eighteenth century. This presentation will offer an introduction into how time has always been sensory and suggest that clock time may not be as all-consuming as it might feel.

“To Brighten Every Painful Hour”: The Follet Family Sampler. The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. July 2021.

At the time of death, a person disappears from view. Someone, or in the case of the Follet Family Sampler, two people – Mary and Ann Follet – who had been so present in the lives of those around them, cease to share their physical space. Embodied engagement with material objects offers one way to cope with this physical and emotional loss. Through processes like threading silk through the eye of a needle and repetitiously, almost meditatively, stitching permanent marks into linen, or sitting down at an engraver’s bench to carefully slide a burin over a smooth silver disk to carve out the names, ages, and death dates of the deceased, physically engaging with an object can aid in the processing of grief, pain, loss, and in the creation of memory. Material culture thus mediates our relationship(s) with life, death, and the dead themselves. Objects evoke the presence of a person and, in this process of evocation, they become memory palaces that facilitate remembering. This talk examines the Follet Family Sampler to explore the three material stages present in this object. It offers one possible interpretation of the layers of meaning inherent within this piece.