Melanie Kiechle

Upcoming Events

to Mar 18

Conference Paper: Remembering the River that Used to Be: Personal Memories of Environmental Change in the Nineteenth Century

  • American Society for Environmental History Annual Meeting (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

As part of the panel "Environments Remembered and Forgotten, Inherited and Invented," I will present new work on how nineteenth-century city dwellers recognized and documented environmental change through their personal memories. This method holds promise for locating citizen science in the nineteenth century, and for practicing citizen science today.

Specific date & time TBA

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7:00 PM19:00

Public Talk: What a Stench! The Civil War's Instant Cities

When they weren't fighting, Civil War soldiers worried about smelly camps, hospitals, and prisons. The stenches of these spaces reminded soldiers of cities, which were notoriously bad for health. This tour of Civil War smellscapes will explain how wartime smells combined with antebellum medical beliefs to create public health in American cities after the war.

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6:00 PM18:00

Public Talk: Fresh Air, Foul Odors, and the Growth of American Cities

Can a city be healthy? 

During the nineteenth century, American cities grew in size and number. Booming cities powered economic growth, but also suffered from epidemic diseases and high mortality rates. As a result, many Americans associated city life with ill health. Sure that bad smells caused disease, city residents pinched their noses, picked bouquets, and sought fresh air. The search for fresh air and health created myriad solutions, including our first household disinfectants, boards of health, and public parks.

On this olfactory tour, I will explain just what smells and stinks meant to nineteenth-century Americans and how their desires for healthful fresh air shaped the cities we live in--and the air we breathe--today.

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