Willa Hammitt Brown






Willa Hammitt Brown is a Preceptor in Expository Writing at Harvard University. In 2017 she received her PhD from the University of Virginia and is currently turning her dissertation, "Gentlemen of the Woods: Manhood, Myth, and the American Lumberjack, 1860-1920," into a book manuscript. She is a columnist and podcast host for Off Assignment, and has appeared on NPR, the CBC and




PhD, History University of Virginia, 2017                                                                   Charlottesville, VA

Dissertation: "Gentlemen of the Woods: Manhood, Myth and the American Lumberjack: 1860-1920"

(Director: Elizabeth Varon)

Examination Fields: Nineteenth Century American Cultural History (Special Field), US History 1865- Present, US History 1500-1865, International Comparative Gender History (Minor Field).


Master of Arts, History University of Virginia, 2011                                                 Charlottesville, VA

Thesis: "Settlers, Subjects and Citizens: meanings of Citizenship in the Northwest Territory"

(Director: Peter S. Onuf)


Bachelor of Arts, History Oxford University, 2008                                                              Oxford, UK


TEACHING EXPERIENCE_______________________________________________________________________________________________

LECTURER, Harvard University, 2015-Present

Instructor of record: develop and teach courses, including setting readings and papers, leading two twice-weekly seminars, and grading all written work for thirty students per semester. As a Preceptor in the writing program at Harvard, I create, design, and execute courses within my field of study, balancing unique content with teaching critical reading and analytical writing skills. 


Expository Writing 20: Whose Boston? Harvard University, 2019

Expository Writing 20: Respectable Ladies, Rebellious Women: Harvard University, 2017-18

Expository Writing 20: Inventing the Wild West: Harvard University, 2015-2017



Carried out all teaching work to supplement lecture courses for sixty students per semester, including running three weekly discussion sections and grading all written work. Set and marked exams where courses required examinations, and in Women in America and Gender Studies helped to set readings and created writing assignments.


Introduction to Anthropology: Semester at Sea, University of Virginia, Spring 2015

World Mythologies: Semester at Sea, University of Virginia, Spring 2015

Introduction to Gender Studies: University of Virginia, Lecturer Cori Field, Fall 2014

Gender in America,1865 - Present: University of Virginia, Lecturer Cori Field, Spring 2014

American Cultural and Intellectual History: University of Virginia, Elizabeth Varon, Spring 2012 

Women in America, 1865- Present: University of Virginia, Lecturer Cori Field, Spring 2012 (3 sections)

Viewing America, 1945-1980: University of Virginia, Professor Brian Balogh, Fall 2011 (3 sections)

Women in America, 1865-Present: University of Virginia, lecturer Cori Field, Spring 2011 (3 sections)

Women in America, 1605- 1865: University of Virginia, Lecturer Cori Field, Fall 2010 (3 sections)


Review of Fictions of Western Domesticity by Amanda J. Zink, Western Historical Quarterly, June 2019.

“Contingent Geographies,” Environmental History Now, 4 February, 2019  <>

Review of Daughters of Israel, Daughters of the South by Jennifer A Stollman, American Jewish History,

January, 2014.

''Lumbersexuality and its Discontents” The Atlantic, 10 December 2014,<>

''Dishonor Code: Rape, Reputation and Repercussion at the University of Virginia," Quite Irregular, 23 November 2014, <>



Gentlemen of the Woods: Manhood, Myth and the American Lumberjack (Under review with University of Minnesota Press).

“Thirty Miles to Town: Itinerancy and the culture of resistance among Northwoods lumberjacks, 1880-1900” (article in progress, submitting to Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Winter 2020).

“Half Man, Half Wildcat: Itinerancy and Frontier Manhood” (article under review for Environmental History roundtable on forest history).


PUBLIC PRESENTATIONS AND INVITED TALKS_____________________________________________________________________________

Historical advisor to The Harvest, Skidmore College, October 2019

“Poverty, Pizza, and Palaces: Case Studies in Southern Italian Public History,” Boston By Foot, September 2019.

“The Lumbersexual,” Beards in History Lecture Series, Virginia Tech, November 2015.

“Rebels, Remingtons and Vishnu Tattoos: Race, History and the Middle Class Search for Authenticity,” Summer Tits Arts Workshop, Woodstock, VT, August 2015.

“From Him Unto Whom Much Has Been Given: a brief history of the use (and misuse) of privilege,” Semester at Sea Explorer’s Seminar, March 2015.

“Why 'Lumbersexuals' are coming out of the woodwork,"' Q, CBC Radio, 12 December 2014.

“Behind the Headlines,” Interview with HearSay, WHRV radio, 26 November 2014.

''Grey Flannel Suits and Red Leather Jackets: Masculinity in 1950s Film & Television,"' Lecture, University of Virginia  Spring 2012.

'''If the great battle is to be fought in the Valley of the Mississippi: Lyman Beecher, Theodore Weld, and the Fate of the West, 1830-1834." Early American Seminar, University of Virginia, 21 February 2012.

''The Cult of True Womanhood in the West, 1790-1850," University of Virginia, Fall 2011.


CONFERENCE ACTIVITY _______________________________________________________________________________________________

“’The Passing of the Pines’ and the last good jacks: nature and manhood in Midwestern memory,” paper accepted to Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, May 2020.

“Problems of Place: A Conversation of Representation, Engagement, and Community,” paper accepted to the American Society of Environmental Historians, March 2020.

“The True and Genuine Story of Paul Bunyan: Commercializing the Lumberjack Image, 1900-1920,” paper accepted to American Historical Association conference, January 2020.

“The Seasonal Round: the Anishinaabe and Itinerant Labor in the Northwoods,” Western Historory Association, Las Vegas, NV, October 2019.

“’Half man, half wildcat’: Itinerancy and the myth of frontier manhood,” American Society for Environmental History Conference, Riverside, CA, March 2018.


HONORS, GRANTS AND AWARDS__________________________________________________________________________________________

Fuerbringer Travel Grant, Harvard University, 2019.

Flansburgh Travel Fellowship, Boston By Foot, 2019.

Mindich Grant for Engaged Scholarship, Harvard University, 2018.

Certificate of Excellence, Harvard University, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019

Graduate Teaching Award, University of Virginia, Honorable Mention, 2011, 2013


SERVICE TO THE PROFESSION__________________________________________________________________________________________

Off the Ladder: founded and run a monthy interdisciplinary seminar for contingent faculty at Harvard          working on the Americas, 2019.

First Year Advisor, Pilot Program: picked as one of fourteen faculty to pilot a new program

professionalizing the first year advising program at Harvard. Advise eight first-year students on academic and extracurricular choices. Fall, 2018.

Essays in History: Book Reviews Editor, 2011-2012

            Solicited and edited reviews for the University of Virginia’s graduate student journal.

Graduate History Student Association: President, 2010-2011

Oversaw graduate student activities including organizing accepted students weekend and serving as graduate representative in meeting visiting scholars.


SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Northeast Regional Youth Service Center, Tutor: tutoring writing, English, and history for high school

equivalency in a young offenders detention center, 2019.

Boston by Foot: docent and guide at a historical and architectural education non-profit, 2017

Lead historical walking tours of Revolutionary era Boston and give lectures and assessments in training guides, 2016 – Present