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Mary Fesak

Ph.D. Program, History of American Civilization
Museum Studies Program
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
 

Biography

​My background is in history and historic preservation with an emphasis on gender, race, and sexuality in American history, agricultural preservation, and building conservation. Much of my research has focused on the study of gender and the built environment, seeking to understand how women’s perceptions of gender norms were manifested through their construction of spaces outside of the domestic sphere during the early-to-mid twentieth century. My undergraduate history honors thesis examined how the female founders and architects of Pine Mountain Settlement School's values shaped the campus's buildings and landscapes. Similarly, my undergraduate historic preservation honors thesis studied how female racehorse owners in Virginia challenged gender norms in the thoroughbred industry through the construction of breeding and training farms. Recognizing the need for a more comprehensive study of thoroughbred training landscapes, my masters thesis developed a typology for training barns in South Carolina. I hope to conduct a larger study of thoroughbred breeding and training landscapes on the East Coast to include an examination of gender, class, and race in the industry. Due to my background in historic preservation, I also have applied experience in National Register of Historic Places nominations, building documentation, conditions assessments, historic structures reports, cultural landscape reports, and architectural conservation treatments. Please visit maryfesak.org/resume/ for more information about my fellowships, internships, academic publications, projects, and reports.

Education

​Clemson University and the College of Charleston, M.S. in Historic Preservation, 2018 University of Mary Washington, B.A. in History and Historic Preservation, 2016

Research Interests

​Gender and the built environment, race and the built environment, cultural landscapes, architectural history, historic preservation, architectural conservation, United States social history, material culture studies

Advisor

​Dr. Zara Anishanslin

Fellowships

  • ​Sally Kress Tompkins Fellow with the Society of Architectural Historians and the Historic American Building Survey, 2019
  • John H. Daniels Fellow at the National Sporting Library & Museum, forthcoming 2021
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