Unlike any students who have ever taken my introductory survey to American history, I became a historian partly because I was inspired by my professor, now emeritus, A.R. Riggs. While my father's deep love for history was infectious, and I come from a long line of storytellers, that freshman class sealed my fate. Fleeing my hometown of Boston, drenched in early American history, for Montreal, I managed to become an American citizen majoring in American history in Quebec after a mere two weeks in my initial major, psychology.
After receiving a B.A. in History from McGill University in 1988, I began graduate school in Edinburgh, Scotland, but the haggis smell from the butcher below my apartment forced me back across the Atlantic. I received my PhD from Boston University in 1996, taught at Boston University and Harvard University for two years as a visiting professor, and then began a fellowship under the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in my adopted hometown of Ottawa. Since coming to SUNY-Potsdam in 2001, I have taught upper-level courses in Colonial North America, Revolutionary America, Witchcraft in early America, and Early American Indian History.
My book project -- "The Culture of Correspondence: Letter-writing in Early New England" -- seeks to understand how letters function within culture, and explores the intersections among oral, written, and print forms of communication. I am also working on the edited collection of one man's correspondence -- John Cotton, Jr., (1640-1699) -- whose life reflects the fame, adultery, sexual impropriety, and forced exile we all associate with seventeenth century New England puritans...