I am an Assistant Professor of Population Studies and Sociology at the University of Minnesota. From 2007-10 I was a Lecturer (equivalent to an Assistant Professor) in the History Programme at Victoria University of Wellington.
Thanks for coming to find out a little more about me. You may be procrastinating, but that's OK. Structured procrastination is an effective way to spend your time.
If you're looking for copies of papers I've presented or published, you can find them immediately to the right, along with a copy of my cv.
If you're looking for information about the projects I work on, check out the links on the far side of the page
My research interests are in the demographic, social, and economic history of Australasia and North America in the 19th and 20th centuries. My research is on the United States and New Zealand, but I try to read in Canadian and Australian scholarship for its connections and comparisons with what I study. My current research projects are about (1) health and living standards in New Zealand and the United States from the early nineteenth century to the present, and (2) married women's work and the family economy in the United States between the Civil War and World War II.
The New Zealand research is jointly with Kris Inwood (Guelph) and Les Oxley (Waikato). We are using anthropometric methods to create consistent measures of Maori (indigenous) and Pakeha (European descended) living standards. This work has been funded by the Health Research Council and Marsden Fund (equivalent of NIH and NSF for American readers).
My research on married women's work is a continuation of work I began in graduate school. I am currently digitizing state labor bureau surveys that are not available in the Historical Labor Statistics Project series. Please get in touch if you are interested in using data from this research. I plan to release public-use versions of the datasets eventually.
For a decade from 2001 I co-ordinated the North Atlantic Population Project (NAPP) at the Minnesota Population Center. NAPP is an international collaboration co-ordinated by the MPC to harmonize and distribute historical (19th and 20th century) census data for social science and historical research. I am particularly interested (and have a lot of experience) in classifying occupations in historical census data. I coded hundreds of thousands of occupations in the IPUMS-USA census samples and the 1880 U.S. census complete-count dataset.
I did my PhD in history at the University of Minnesota. My dissertation looked at married women's labor force participation in the United States between 1860 and 1940. The main data sources I used were census samples from the IPUMS and the 1880 complete count census in the North Atlantic Population Project, as well as survey data from the 1888-90, 1917-19 and 1935-36 Cost of Living surveys and surveys of consumer expenditures. I also worked extensively with interviews of workers from the Hawthorne works of the Western Electric company for insight on public opinion about married women's work in the 1920s and 1930s. Please contact me if you are interested in reading any of this work.
Before going to the University of Minnesota on a Fulbright scholarship, I did a BA(Hons) degree in Economics and History, and a BSc (BS for American readers) in Mathematics and Statistics at Victoria University of Wellington.
I wrote my Honours thesis/research essay on the history of New Zealand department store employees -- publications from this work are listed in my CV to the right.
Besides my academic pursuits I do a lot of long-distance running -- if you really are procrastinating you can find my New Zealand running results at Wellington Scottish or Minnesota results on the extremely useful Raceberry Jam. I also listen to Bob Dylan, but would like to assure you I did not move to Minnesota for this reason. To my shame I have not yet made the pilgrimage to Hibbing.
Publications and conference papersIf you would like a copy of published articles that you do not have access to through your library, please email me using my email address on the left of the page (email links disabled as part of modern life's perennial and somewhat futile effort at reducing spam).
New Zealand health and living standards
Please contact me if you are interested in discussing currently unpublished research.
We are currently expanding our dataset of World War I soldiers by crowd-sourcing the transcription of all New Zealand's World War I personnel files. This project, Measuring the ANZACs is a collaboration of the Minnesota Population Center, The Zooniverse, Archives New Zealand with additional organizational support from Auckland Museum. We launched in October 2015 and have the goal of a complete transcription of all 140,000 records by the end of November 2018. Please get involved in the project! We are very happy to support educational use of the site. Please contact me to discuss lesson plans, guest lectures to classes, and talks to groups in the community.
Household budget studies in the British dominions, 1873-1939. Historical Household Budgets Working Paper No. 2. Now available in Rivista di Storia Economica in August 2016.
Physical growth and ethnic inequality in New Zealand prisons, 1840-1975, History of the Family, 2015.
Chapters on the early history of New Zealand family budget studies, and the history of the New Zealand consumer price index, in The New Zealand CPI at 100: History and Interpretation (buy the book, Christmas is coming)
Birth weight and adult health in historical perspective: Evidence from a New Zealand cohort, 1907-1922, Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 107, April 2014.
Height, weight and mortality in the past: New evidence from a nineteenth century New Zealand cohort. Presented at 2011 Social Science History and 2013 Population Association and Cliometrics meetings (with Kris Inwood and Les Oxley).
Longitudinal studies of human growth and health: A review of recent historical research, November 2010. Journal of Economic Surveys (with Kris Inwood).
Physical stature and its interpretation in nineteenth century New Zealand, November 2010. Australian Economic History Review (with Kris Inwood).
Please contact me to discuss recent work from our research on anthropometric history in New Zealand.
Married women's work
You are welcome to download and cite these papers on married women's work. However, I am working on revised versions of all these papers. Please email me if you are interested in reading this research.
Moving Around the City: Residential and Economic Mobility in Chicago, 1925-30 in Lives in Transition, McGill-Queens University Press, 2015.
Rosie the Riveter's Job Market: Advertising for Women Workers in World War II Los Angeles, Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, Fall 2012.
"Women's rights and women's labor: Married womens property laws and labor force participation, 1860-1900. Economic History Association meetings, September 2006. (More recent version available on request. Please email me if you are interested)
"Give the single girls a chance!": Employees Views on Preference for Service and Layoffs at Western Electric in the Depression. Business History Conference, May 2005.
"Married women's work in war and depression, 1917-1940" European Social Science History paper, March 2004
"Labor Force Participation by Married Women in the United States: Results from the 1917/19 Cost-of-Living Survey and the 1920 PUMS", Social Science History Association conference, Baltimore, November 2003
New Zealand historyThe Whangaroa Incident, 16 July 1824: A European-Maori Encounter and its Many Incarnations. Journal of Pacific History, 49(1): 50-75. (with Alexander Maxwell)
Casual abstract: Europeans distorted a slightly scary encounter with Maori in a series of re-tellings in the nineteenth century.
The peripatetic career of Wherahiko Rawei: Maori culture on the global Chautauqua circuit, 1893-1927 in Tom Wright (ed) The Cosmpolitican Lyceum (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013): 203-222. (buy the book, Christmas is coming)
Historical statistics"Longitudinal and cross-sectional historical data: intersections and opportunities" (With Lisa Y. Dillon) History & Computing 14(1/2), 2006.
Tables from 2005 Medical Care Research and Review article, "A Review of Economic Evaluations of Community Mental Health Care."
Two articles about anti-depressant prescribing in New Zealand from the New Zealand Medical Journal.
"Gender in Store: Salespeoples Working Hours and Union Organisation in New Zealand and the United States, 1930-60" Labour History, Issue 83, November 2002, pp.107-130. (JSTOR: May not be accessible to non-subscribers).
"Don't Sell Things, Sell Effects": Overseas Influences in New Zealand Department Stores, 1909-1956. Business History Review, Volume 77, Summer 2003, pp.265-289. (JSTOR)
Patient social reformers: Concordance between method and vision in the work of Richard T. Ely, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb (MA research paper, 2003).
Spring 2018: SOC4246, Sociology of Health and Illness
May 2018: Understanding New Zealand: Culture, Society, and Environment. Three week global seminar in New Zealand.
About the images at the top of the page