Rachel Taylor Launches Digital Publications on Federal History

Image of Rachel Lanier Taylor

Rachel Lanier Taylor, a UW doctoral candidate in history, has developed a series of publications for the Society for History in the Federal Government to connect its work to public audiences. Taylor has worked as an intern for the society through the Simpson Center’s Historians at Work: Building Professional Networks project.

During that time, Taylor drew on her digital humanities skills to develop a blog for the society about history in the federal government (which is the nation’s largest employer of history PhDs). She launched a second blog for the History@FedGov educational portal. In a post about the Ellis Island Powerhouse and Laundry Building, part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, she describes her research into the building’s architectural history:

My experience documenting this Georgian Revival style building and its various mechanical fixtures—an early-twentieth-century boiler, a mattress sanitizer, and refrigerated mortuary bins—allowed me to gain familiarity with work as a historian outside of academia and highlighted the importance of seeing the built environment as an archival and historical source worthy of preservation.

The internship is part of the Simpson Center’s Next Generation Humanities PhD initiative. The project joins parallel efforts in medical humanities, art history, English, Philosophy, Near & Middle Eastern Studies, and cross-disciplinary modern language programs, in envisioning new approaches and career paths in doctoral education.

Taylor studies US environmental history with dissertation supervisor Linda Nash (History) and interned in 2017 and 2018 with the Historic American Buildings Survey, part of the US National Park Service. She previously led the environmental humanities graduate research cluster at the Simpson Center and attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria, British Columbia. She also developed The Digital Dissertator, a public scholarship website partly focused on building community among women dissertators.

Congratulations, Rachel!

Be Boundless for Washington | For the World