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Elizabeth Cook

Ph.D. Student (ABD)

Advisor: James P. Whittenburg
Current Research: Material Culture, Early American History, Architectural History


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 surroundings.