William and Mary

Elizabeth  Cook

ABD History

Email: [[e|ecook]]
Current Research: Early Modern America, Material Culture, Built Environment, Historical Archaeology


A California native, Elizabeth graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in History and Theater and a minor in Business before heading east on the Education Trail.  Since settling in Virginia, she has:

  • earned awards including Early American Industries Association Research Grant, Jack Miller Center Fellowship at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Virginia Historical Society Mellon
  • Research Fellowship
  • co-taught a comparative history course on the cities of British and Spanish Colonial America with Susan Webster
  • driven thousands of miles as a NIAHD instructor
  • served as the Graduate Student Association President, History Graduate Student Association President, HGSA Vice-President, HGSA Treasurer, Arts & Sciences Representative on the Graduate Council, Graduate Representative to the Committee on Graduate Studies, and Graduate Representative on the Executive Appropriations Committee
  • passed comprehensive exams in American History to 1815, American History 1815 to the Present, Colonial Latin America, and Material Culture
  •  earned an M.A. (“Art, Mystery, and Occupation: Building Culture in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg, Virgina”)
  • acquired countless sunburns as an archaeologist
  • traveled around the world presenting her research
  • framed and raised three timber-frame buildings

At present, Elizabeth is writing her dissertation, entitled ““The City at the Falls: Labor and the Built Environment in Richmond, Virginia, 1730-1860.” It examines relationship between tradesmen, craft
knowledge, and the creation of an urban landscape in Richmond, Virginia prior to the Civil War. Her research is driven by questions about how individuals understood and interacted with their material


Awards, Fellowships and Publications

Awards and Honors

  • Graduate Student Travel Grant, 4th International Congress on Construction History, 2012
  • Arts & Sciences OGSR/Graduate Student Association Conference Funds, College of William & Mary, 2011, 2012
  • Alfred D. Chandler Travel Grant, Business History Conference, 2011
  • Distinguished Thesis in the Humanities, College of William & Mary, 2010
  • Bicknell Scholar, National Society Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims, 2008-2009
  • Renaissance Scholar, University of Southern California, 2008
  • Roberta A. Foulke Fellowship for Women in History, University of Southern California, 2007
  • Presidential Scholar, University of Southern California, 2003-2007


  • “'By Work Done For Me': Building Culture and Client Relationships in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg.”  Journal of the Oxford University Historical Society 8 (2012)


Conference Presentations:

  • “Building Culture and Competence:  Demonstrating Knowledge on Construction Sites in Eighteenth-Century Virginia,” 4th International Congress on Construction History, July 2012
  • “Building Culture as Competition: Demonstrating Knowledge on Construction Sites in Eighteenth-Century Virginia,”  Business History Conference, April 2011
  • “A 'Parcel of Carpenters & Joyners Tools': Carpenters, Clients, and Material Culture in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg,”  Virginia Forum, March 2011
  • "We Theatric Merchants: Marketing and Consuming Theater in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg", The Georgian Playhouse and its Continental Counterparts 1750-1850, The Society for Theatre Research, September 2008


  • “ 'By Work Done For Me': Building Culture and Client Relationships in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg,” “'I Know My Place': The Interaction of Urban Space and Social Hierarchies in History,” Trinity College, University of Oxford, May 2011
  • “Devotions on Tin: Ex-votos and Intercessions in Mexico” Merging Souls: Arts of Devotion in Latin America, Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary, April 2010