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New researchers at the Study Center!

Dec 15, 2021

In September 2021, Historic New England expanded its research endeavors by launching three new positions for New England historians who hold master’s degrees or above. Going forward, there will be yearly openings for two fellowships and one scholar-in-residence.

The two fellowships are part-time, with each focusing on a specialty area of research. This year’s fellows, Eleanor Martinez-Proctor and Willie Granston, are studying architectural history and labor history at the Eustis Estate in Milton, Mass.

Eleanor’s research is focused on finding and broadening historical narratives around the domestic staff employed at the Eustis Estate. She seeks to gain a deeper understanding of their lives in relation to their work and in a wider social context to share more complete and connected storytelling at the site. Willie’s research reconsiders Eustis Estate architect W. Ralph Emerson. He is focusing on the development of Emerson’s reputation as an innovative and forward-thinking architect in the late nineteenth-century and Emerson’s role as an artist, lecturer, and mentor to many younger New England architects.

The full-time scholar-in-residence position is designed to pursue a significant independent research project, such as writing a book or several articles for academic journals. The current scholar-in-residence is Dr. Tian Xu. His research investigates the work of late nineteenth-century New England attorneys with both Black Civil War pensioners and Chinese immigrants, with a special focus on how these lawyers and their clients negotiated domesticity, gender roles, and racial constructions.

Early progress

In just a few months these researchers are making wonderful discoveries to incorporate into Historic New England programming next summer. To learn more about these discoveries, look for an upcoming article in the winter 2022 issue of Historic New England magazine.

More on the Study Center

These positions are part of the Study Center, Historic New England’s academic research branch. The Study Center is not just focused on research; it is also a place where Historic New England invests in the public historians of tomorrow. The center hosts three graduate interns per semester who are pursuing careers in museums. Staff also work closely with graduate and undergraduate programs to provide professional development support for students interested in public history and careers in the non-profit realm. To learn more about the internship program, how Historic New England collaborates with college and university programs, or the research positions discussed above please email Alissa Butler.

Dr. Alissa Butler manages the Study Center at Historic New England and oversees the internship program, which supports graduate students and emerging new professionals.