My dissertation, “From Buckskin to Gore-Tex: Consumption as a Path to Mastery in Twentieth-Century American Wilderness Recreation,” explores the cultural, intellectual, and environmental history of the outdoor gear industry.
From Stetson hats and buckskin suits to army surplus tents and Gore-Tex rain jackets, outdoor gear and its marketing in catalogs, stores, and guidebooks are a means to understanding how Americans strove for an authentic mastery of the outdoors. I argue that consuming became central to Americans’ goal of mastering the outdoors.
Fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, the Lemelson Center, and the Hagley Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society helped support this research, as have the many grants and awards listed here. I’ve presented material from four chapters at the annual conferences of the American Society for Environmental History, the Organization of American Historians, and the American Historical Association.