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Dandelion Seeds

Work in progress

This work is in various stages of preparation for publication.  I welcome opportunities to connect with scholars, publishers, museums, and the general public about these topics.

1951 postcard of a waitress uniform sold by Shane Company in Evansville, Indiana

On the Job:

A History of American Work Uniforms

In the United States, work uniforms have been shaped by the demands of employers, customers, and sometimes the workers themselves, but also by the rise of mass manufacturing in clothing production, which began in earnest in the mid-nineteenth century. While many scholars have touched on uniforms, particularly within sociology and labor history, few scholars have given this topic any sustained attention. And yet, work is arguably one of the defining features of contemporary American culture.

Afterthought: A Family Story

This manuscript is a work of creative nonfiction focusing on my grandmother, who was born a century ago and died a few years before contraception and abortion became legally available.  Between 1944 and 1955, Lila had seven children with at least four different men.  She died at age 36 from years of overwork, repeated pregnancies, and a brief amphetamine addiction.

mother surrounded by children
detail of a dress worn by members of the Degree of Pocahontas

Secret society regalia

This project is at the data-gathering stage. Secret societies such as the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Degree of Pocahontas, and Daughters of America were very popular in Indiana in the early 1900s.  I am particularly interested in the 'militant' orders, participation by women, and regalia used in rituals. Ward-Stilson, a major regalia manufacturer, was based in Anderson, Indiana.

Echoes of War: Body Armor for Safety and Fashion

As government agents authorized to use lethal force, soldiers wear distinctive uniforms.  In theory, US law forbids civilians from impersonating soldiers. In practice, it is easy to acquire secondhand military equipment and fashionable clothing with a military aesthetic, such as pea coats, bomber jackets, and camouflage cargo pants. For decades, body armor was too expensive for civilian use.  As the technology has advanced it has slowly trickled into fashion, especially among rappers, cross-fit enthusiasts, and political extremists.

body armor costumes.jpeg
chapter for an edited volume on fashion and politics
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