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Research Topics and Object Studies

Sample Object Studies

Soon after their arrival in Deerfield, Fellows are assigned a short object-based study project. Each student selects an object from Historic Deerfield’s collections, writes a brief (5-7) page paper, and makes a brief presentation to museum staff. Click on the links below to view sample object studies and presentations by recent Summer Fellows:

Kelly Pedersen, ‘19

“Bonnet on the Brain: An Object Study of a Nineteenth Century Crochet Bonnet”


Kaila Temple, ‘18

“The Largest and Most Fashionable Assortment’: a c. 1840 Stand and the Furniture and Feather Warehouse of John G. Creagh”

Object study topics


Basil Derry, Object study: Theorem Painting and Girls’ Nineteenth Century Education, HD 2020.5.38

Mairead Downes, Object Study: Stitching the Divine: Examining Historic Deerfield’s Jacobean Embroidered Bible, HD 2022.7

Weronika Grajdura, Object study: A Drink on the Go: An Object Study of a 1730s Delftware Flask, HD 2020.4.2

Ella Kearney, Object study: “Urge No Healths”: Punch, Alcohol and Ceramics in the late 18th Century, HD 2020.16

Emily Maddux, Object Study: The Village of Davisville (watercolor), HD 2020.5.48

Natalie Warren, Object Study: From Earth to Art: The Stoneware Gemel Flask of New Haven, HD 2020.5.19

Nick Wendell, Object Study: Late 19th Century Stereograph, HD 2016.26


Jacob Anthony, Object study: Shoemaker’s ledger and box HD 2020.39.1-2

Kayla Banks, Object study: Uncle Tom pottery figurine HD 2021.33.14

Monica Berg, Object study: Jane Allis’s 1830 sampler HD 64.206

Ellie Fitzgerald, Object study: 1830 “Northampton Mass” Platter by Enoch Wood & Sons HD 2021.23.5

Lauren Gonsalves, Object study: 19th century Canterbury HD 2001.29.8

Marco Lloyd, Object study: Child’s ceramic cup HD 2021.4

Mary Orms, Object study: 2019 “Deerfield Remembrance Belt” HD 2019.35

Summer Fellowship Program Research Paper Topics

Over the course of the program, each Summer Fellow is required to write a 25+-page research paper. Students conduct research on a topic of their choice relating to the history of the Connecticut River Valley, drawing on the extensive archives in the Memorial Libraries  and the artifacts of Historic Deerfield and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. Covering diverse topics, papers have ranged from an in-depth analysis of bandbox illustrations in the Historic Deerfield collection to the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of a local artisan. Here are the titles of the Summer Fellowship classes’ research papers from the past few years.


Basil Derry, Mt. Holyoke College, “Under the Shade of Deerfield’s Elms: Memory Making and Community”

Mairead Downes, Boston University, “The Silhouette of Classical Antiquity: Neoclassical Fashion and Ideals in an American Context, 1795-1815”

Weronika Grajdura, St. Louis University, “’They Will be Rich Men’: The Economic Integration and Assimilation of the Polish Community in Deerfield, MA”

Ella Kearney, Colorado State University, “The Life And Death Of An Abolitionist: A Study Of David Starr Hoyt Within The Abolitionist Movement And His Connections With Deerfield”

Emily Maddux, Newman University, “Life After Death: Deerfield’s Autopsies of the 19th Century”

Natalie Warren, Centre College, “Womanhood and Artistry in the Life of Margaret Crowninshield Wilby”

Nick Wendell, University of Vermont, “Wayfaring Painter: The Life and Career of Zedekiah Belknap”


Jacob Anthony, McGill University, The Kwinitekw Agricultural Corridor

Kayla Banks, Loyola Marymount University, Working Gentility: The Appearance of Domestic Labor in the 19th Century

Monica Berg, University of Georgia, Sweetmeats & Syllabubs: Early Nineteenth-Century Dessert Presentation in New England and the Extent of its Practice in Deerfield

Ellie Fitzgerald, University of Connecticut, Bound Together: Ellen Gates Starr, Bookbinding, and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Deerfield, Massachusetts

Lauren Gonsalves, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Reimagining the Box: Deerfield’s Federal Homes and the Relationship Between Person and Room

Marco Lloyd, Gettysburg College, The Reintegration after the Revolution: The Deerfield Tories from 1781 to 1800

Mary Orms, University of Texas at Austin, Post-Revolutionary Cyphering Books and the Construction of American Identity


Anne Gebo, Colorado State University, “No walls that I know of have been found to be sufficient barriers against them.”: An Exploration of Vermin in New England

 Ann Hewitt, Mount Holyoke College, Sippy Cups: Messages Embodied in Children’s Ceramics

 Jamie Mastrogiacomo, Smith College, The Mohawk Trail: Souvenirs and Stereotypes on Indigenous Land

 Alyssa Pizzi, Syracuse University, Lot 15 and the Creelman House: Change in the Landscape as a Reflection of its Owners

 Allison Smith, Smith College, “to captivate children anew”: Matilda Hyde’s “Old Deerfield” Paper Dolls

 Jingyi Zhou, Rice University, Post-Opium War Trade between China and the West as Reflected in Almira Antoinette Kinney’s Travel Journal (1856-1857)


Kelly Bernatzsky, Vassar College, “A Gem in Memory’s Casket: The Demographic Potential of Autograph Books”

Natalie Cozart, Colorado State University, “Rolling the Dice: Testing the Preparedness and Effectiveness of the Western Massachusetts Militias During the American Revolution”

Jennifer Lien, University of Wisconsin,“‘Small beginnings may often lead to great results’:  A case study of the infrastructure and working culture surrounding the cultivation, production, and market of broom corn by Dennis Stebbins and laborers”

Joseph Makuc, Ursinus College “‘Behold Injustice and Rapacity’: Massachusetts Anti-War Critique of the U.S.-Mexico War”

Kelly Pedersen, University of New Hampshire, “In Order to Build a More Perfect Beehive: The Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth and the Effect of his Removable Frame Hive on American Beekeeping”

Emma Wiley, Vassar College, “‘The Most Traffic on the Street were the Houses!’: How the History of House Moving Provides a Narrative of Change on the Historic Street in Deerfield, Massachusetts”


Emily Bach, Shippensburg University: “Ladies Fashionably Abroad: Clothing’s Role in European Travel, 1854-1855”

Keily Cunningham, Ohio State University: “Adoration vs Silence: Abolition in Deerfield”

Frances Fleming, University of Massachusetts:  National Connections in Country Towns: Lectures and Lyceums in Nineteenth-Century Deerfield and Greenfield

Tammy Hong, Syracuse University: “Between Fantasy and Familiarity: Chinese Tea Culture and Painting Traditions in Historic Deerfield’s Album: Tea Production”

Victoria Kenyon, Auburn University at Montgomery: “So Great a Soldier:” Deerfield and the Legacy of Thomas Williams Ashley”

 Kaila Temple, Smith College: “Refined Bodies: Stays and Bodily Control in the American Context”


Cyr, Catherine: “Sally Williams and Deerfield Academy Needlework 1803-1805”

Dial, India: “The Subversive Allegory of a Tankard Engraved by Joseph Leddell: A Case Study in Anti-Jacobite Material Culture in the American Colonies”

Gale, Rebecca: “‘I have never asked advice of anyone since’: The Trailblazing Life of Elizabeth Greene (1890-1973)”

Kelleher, James: “Colonel John Ames: A Rural Builder and His Work”

Olson, Sophie:  “A Hermit for the Masses: The Story of John Smith, Hermit of Erving Castle”

Smith, Adam:    “In Medium Res: Martha Williams and Spiritualism in Pre-Civil War America”


Center, Daniel: “Captured in the Colonies: The Treatment of Prisoners taken during the Last Anglo French Imperial Conflicts in North America”

Cooley, Bryn:  “Just Gals Being Pals:Navigating Romantic Friendships in Deerfield, MA 1880-­1910”

Cos, Phoebe:  “The ‘Frontier of Liberal Principles’: Samuel Willard’s Quest to Introduce Unitarianism in Post-Revolution Deerfield”

Kawaue, Midori:    “Epaphras Hoyt: ‘An Ardent Admirer of the Eternal Laws of God, Whom Science Had Marked for its Own’”

LaForge, Allyson:  “‘This Matter of Peace Lieth with You’: Negotiating Native and English Space during the 1735 Deerfield Conference”

Schiffer, Samuel:  “Lost and Found: Clara Alquist and Her Art in the 1920, 30s, and 40s”


Baerman, Brooke: “Flights of Fancy and Imagined Landscapes in Historic Deerfield’s Clayton’s Ascent Bandbox”

Lachtrup, Gabrielle: ” ‘One Blood to Dwell On the Face of the Earth:’ Deerfield Revisits Its Abenaki Descendants”

Quigley, Katherine: ” ‘In what miseries are men involved by vice:’ Illicit Sexuality in Fact and Fiction”

Rothman, Jacob: “Overflowing the Mold: Justin Hitchcock’s Autobiography and the American Revolution”

Sackett, Emily: ” ‘One on Whom the Shadows Have Fallen:’ Harriet Hitchcock and the Experiment of Nineteenth-Century Mental Health Care”

Vesnaver, Vernonica: “Franklin County Goes to Sea: A Study of the Canning Family Sailors in the Great Age of Sail”


Boudreau, John:  “We Aim at Once to Profit and to Please: Printing in Greenfield and Deerfield, 1790-1820”

Costley, Kaitlin:  “A “Deplorable Class of Sufferers: Lovina Witherell, A Case of Remediless Lunacy”

Fisher, Laura: “The Root of a Movement: The Development of Recreational Botany in the Connecticut River Valley”

Muir, Elizabeth: “The Importance of Being Elite: Imported Goods and the Ideologies of Display in the Early Republic”

Reilly, Noelle: “Shawl” Covered Up: Shawls as Accessories of Modesty in the Connecticut River Valley, 1790-1820”

Wells, Emily: “Fallen Soldiers, Lamented Sons: Death, Mourning, and the Soldier’s Monument in Deerfield”


Botello, John: “Gothic Revivalism and 19th Century Suburbanization: A Study of the J.F. Moors House”

Dalton, Kyle: “Do Not Lose Your Heart: Education, Grieving and Gender in New England from 1800-1830”

Florio, Emma: “Before Deerfield: The World War I Letters of Henry N. Flynt”

Klein, Carl: “On the Common of Old Deerfield”

Lehrhaupt, Madison: “Hoyt on the Northern Campaign of 1777: Creating a National Identity”

Little, Courtney: “Seeing Britain: The Travel Memoirs of Revs. John Williams and Robert Crawford”

Newcomb, Daniel: “’Comfort me with apples’: Production, Consumption, and Evolution of Cider in Deerfield, 1750-1830”

Bachman, Ryan: “John Mosley and the Closure of the Hampshire County Courthouse”

Fleming, Lauren: “ ‘Seek Science in Her Coy Abode’: The Medical Botany of Steven West Williams”

Keene, Betsy: “ ‘To Speak Fearlessly Our Sentiments’: The Greenfield Publishing Business of Ansel Phelps”

Krom, Stephanie:  “No One Much Cared”: Specie Counterfeiting and Community Support in 1780s Hampshire County”

Turnmire, Rebekah: “Tobacco in Vogue: Commercial Adaptation of Connecticut Valley Tobacco,1860s-1901”

Unverferth, Abigail: “The Image of the Carver: Identity and Ideology in Carved Powder Horns by Jacob Gay: 1759-1777”


Bachman, Ryan: “John Mosley and the Closure of the Hampshire County Courthouse”

Fleming, Lauren: “ ‘Seek Science in Her Coy Abode’: The Medical Botany of Steven West Williams”

Keene, Betsy: “ ‘To Speak Fearlessly Our Sentiments’: The Greenfield Publishing Business of Ansel Phelps”

Krom, Stephanie:  “No One Much Cared”: Specie Counterfeiting and Community Support in 1780s Hampshire County”

Turnmire, Rebekah: “Tobacco in Vogue: Commercial Adaptation of Connecticut Valley Tobacco,1860s-1901”

Unverferth, Abigail: “The Image of the Carver: Identity and Ideology in Carved Powder Horns by Jacob Gay: 1759-1777”


Becker, Annette: “Hair-itage of Deerfield: Wigs and Hairdressing in the 18th Century” (David Hoyt and wigmaking in Deerfield)

Garland, Katherine: “Reverend Robert Crawford: Faithful Friend and Minister for God”

(Diaries of Rev. Robert Crawford, minister of Calvinist Congregational Church, Deerfield, 1850-1870)

Halbert, Philippe: “‘For Face He Can See None’: The Sale and Symbolism of Masks in Colonial Deerfield”

(Ladies’ full-face masks and their ownership and use in Deerfield 1720-1750)

McGinley, Thomas: “Yankee Soldier With a Cause: The Spiritual Life and Letters of Myron Stowell”

(Civil War letters of orderly Myron Stowell, South Deerfield)

McKinney, Katherine: “The Prophet of Frizell Hill: The Scandalous Shoes of William Dorril”

(William Dorrell and the Dorrellites, a short-lived utopian community in Leyden, MA, 1785-1800)

Speers, Laura: “The Deerfield Daisy” Manuscript newspaper, “The Deerfield Daisy,” 1880s, created by two 10-year-old girls in Old Deerfield)

Wertz, Casey: “The Improved Order of Red Men: Wigwams, Wampum, and the Connecticut Valley Red Men”


Drake, Clint: “William Barnard and the Settlements of the Eastern Townships of Quebec Province”

Eskridge, Caryne: “The Doctor Thomas Williams House: Structural Symbolism and the River Gods”

Jahrling, Ashley: “Mulberry Mania and Silk Fever: Connecticut River Valley Sericulture from 1820-1850”

Kalvaitis, Jennifer:  “Suffrage and Scandal: Women and Machine Politics in the 1893 Deerfield School Committee Election”

McCoy, Laura: “‘How Can a Slave Perform the Duties of a Husband to a Wife or Parent to his Child?’: Fornication, Family and Slavery in 17th and 18th-Century Puritan Massachusetts”

Richardson, Laurel: “Preserving ‘The Majesty of the People’: Deerfield’s Conservative Role in Shays’s Rebellion,1786-1787”

Swanson, Danielle: “Deerfield’s Dower Thirds: A Look at 18th-Century Widow’s Rights and Experiences”


Morrill, Matthew: “ ‘A Consumation Devoutly to Be Wished’: The Removal of Deerfield’s Utility Poles”

Spiegel, Margaret: “Looking West: The Perceptions of the American Midwest in the Courtship Letters of Edward Wells Colton and Susan Heard”

Swisher, Kate: “‘A Miniature Woman’: ‘Little Mary’ Hawks and Physical Difference in Nineteenth-Century Deerfield”

Teachout, Jenna: “The Walpole Society: A Century of Gentlemen Collectors”

Young, Andrew:  “‘Costume-Early Eighteenth Century’: A Comparison of C. Alice Baker’s Colonial Ball with Deerfield’s 1913 Historical Pageant”

Zagarino, Victoria: “1956-1972: The Journey Toward the Acceptance of Women into the Historic Deerfield Summer Fellowship Program”


Belkin, Erica: “‘Thy Will Be Done’: One Woman’s Experience of Living with Tuberculosis in 19th-Century Massachusetts”

Coyne, Caitlin: “Republican Women: Finding Agency from within the Domestic Sphere”

Gordon, Nicolas: “Understanding a Seventeenth-Century Algonkian Ball-headed War Club”

Drake, Amy: “‘There was Never a Jack Without a Jill, and Some Jacks Had Several Gills’: Elihu Ashley and the Pursuit of Masculinity through Courtship in Deerfield, Massachusetts, 1773-1775”

Joyce, Horatio: “The Incorporation of Architectural Fragments in the Houses of Historic Deerfield”

McBride, Anne: “Textile Dyeing in Deerfield, Massachusetts: The Account Book & Patrons of Justin Hithcock”

Wolfe, Charlotte: “Spices and the Spice Trade in Early Deerfield”


Colman, Benjamin: “Rethinking the New England Frontier: Deerfield in the Era of the Glorious Revolution”

Jacobs, Adam:   “‘Misfortune is the Common Lot of All Man’: Poverty in Deerfield, Massachusetts, 1815-1830”

Jodon, Michelle: “‘What a ray of sunshine and joy she has been to him’: Father-Daughter Relationships in the Letters of William and Edith Barnard”

MacLeod, Jessie: “‘Never lose a good thought.  Place it in your scrapbook’: Preservation and Self-Definition in Women’s Scrapbooks”

Miller, Brittany:  “Make a Joyful Noise: Singing, Dancing and the Music of Deerfield”

Nelson, Rebecca: “‘A Day Full of Meaning’: The 150th Anniversary Pageant at Deerfield Academy”

Wright, Rebecca:  “Every House Has a Story to Tell, But How Do We Tell It? An Exhibit on Change through Time in the Wells-Thorn House”


Balch, Allison:   “The Evolution of Apple Cultivation in 19th Century Deerfield, Massachusetts”

Crawford, Katelyn: “C. Alice Baker’s Pewter Collection and its 1916 Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston”

Lewis, Brittany:  An 18th-century silk gown with a history of ownership in Springfield, MA

Ludke, Kyle:  A late 18th-century Hampshire county blockfront chest-on-frame

Magolan, Valerie: Dr. Thomas Williams’s House, Deerfield

Miller, Amy:      The slaves of Rev. Stephen Williams, Longmeadow

Yai, Youme:       The history of counterfeiting in early Hampshire county


Carlsen, Kayla: “Corpses in the Parlor to Corpses in the Cooler: A Cultural Paradigm Shift”

Gomer, Allison: “The Deerfield Improvement Society: ‘Promoting the Social, Moral, and Intellectual Improvement of Deerfield, Massachusetts’”

Jones, Sarah:  “Artificial Lighting in Deerfield, 1800-1840”

Kutz, Kimberly: “The Spiritualist Movement at Lake Pleasant, Montague, Massachusetts”

Nissen, Aleesha: “‘Grossly, wantonly, and severely neglected’: Separation and Divorce in Franklin County, 1825-1845”

Pine, Kylie: “‘As Active Friends in this cause, my brethren, we are allowed of God to claim kindred with the Angels above!’: A History of Missionary Societies of Deerfield, Massachusetts and the Second Great Awakening”