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Holly Gruntner

Ph.D. Student (ABD)

Advisor :  Karin Wulf
email [[hlgruntner]]
Current Research :  Early America, Science, Labor


Holly received her BA from the University of Minnesota, Morris. After working for three years at the Library of Congress, she completed her History MA at William & Mary in 2017. Her MA portfolio explored how botanists in early America relied upon their spouses, children, enslaved people, and servants for crucial scientific labors.

Holly is currently a PhD candidate in the History Department at William & Mary. Her dissertation, "Fertile Ground: Kitchen Gardens and Knowledge Production in Early America," explores ordinary people’s horticultural knowledge from 1730 through 1830. It focuses on mid-Atlantic and northeastern British North America (and later, the United States), from Virginia to Maine. It centralizes people who were lower class, enslaved, or indentured. To understand their intellectual lives and how they put their knowledge to work, Holly's dissertation pulls together a constellation of experiences, tasks, and knowledges of gardens and gardening. It argues that ordinary people’s horticultural knowledge was socially made and circulated in a variety of contexts, through collaboration and conflict within households; transactions that took place between neighbors; reading and annotating printed almanacs; and in the annals of agricultural, horticultural, and scientific societies.

Holly is a 2022-2023 Dissertation Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Philadelphia.