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Graduate Students

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Camden Ross Burd

Track: PhD, 2020
Adviser: Thomas Slaughter

Major Fields: American History, Environmental History, Digital Humanities
Minor Fields: Global Environmental History, History of the Family, Business History

Curriculum Vitae


American History

Research Interests

Broadly speaking, my research explores the interaction of nature, business, and culture in nineteenth-century America. My current project examines the role of plant nurserymen in nineteenth-century America. Nurserymen were naturalists, city planners, reformers, scientists, and businessmen. Their vision for the American landscape blended agribusiness with a deep reverence for the natural world. My research places nurserymen at the center of American expansion and ecological imperialism. In addition to a close reading of nurserymen’s letters, publications, and plant catalogues, I utilize big-data and geographic information systems to track the ecological transformation of America. Despite this trade, nurserymen promoted a romantic vision towards the natural world — a vision that asked Americans to slow down, tend their gardens, and bask in the splendor of nature’s beauty. A history of plant nurserymen is a story of lofty dreams, unforeseen ecological consequences, and the heartache associated with business of beauty.


“The Ornament of Empire: Nurserymen and the Making of the American Landscape”


MA, History, University of Rochester, 2015
MA, History, Central Michigan University, 2014
BA, History, University of Utah, 2011

Selected Publications

  • Article: "Scrolling Through Nature: Reflections on the Digital Humanities and Michigan’s Environmental History,” The Michigan Historical Review (Special Issue on Environmental Histories of the Great Lakes State) (Forthcoming).
  • Essay In Collection: “In the Land of Hiawatha: Conservation and Literary Sociability in Michigan,” in Pieces of the Heartland: Representing Early Twentieth-Century Midwestern Places, edited by Andy Oler (Hastings, Nebraska: Hastings College Press, 2018), 23 – 38.
  • Article: “Imagining a Pure Michigan Landscape: Advertisers, Tourists, and the Making of Michigan’s Northern Vacationlands,” The Michigan Historical Review 42.2 (Fall 2016): 31-51.
  • Review: Joshua A.T. Salzmann, Liquid Capital: Making the Chicago Waterfront (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017) Michigan Historical Review 44, no. 1 (2018): 130 – 131.
  • Review: Otis L. Graham, Jr., Presidents and the American Environment (University of Kansas Press, 2015) Environment and Society 9 (2017): 207-209.
  • Review: Joseph E. Taylor, III, Krista Fryauff, Erik Steiner, Celena Allen, Alex Sherman, and Zephyr Frank. Follow the Money: A Spatial History of In-Lieu Programs for Western Federal Lands (Spatial History Project, CESTA, Stanford University, 1 June 2016) Pacific Northwest Quarterly (Fall 2016): 198.
  • Review: David Spanagel, DeWitt Clinton and Amos Eaton: Geology and Power in Early New York (John Hopkins University Press, 2014) New York History 97.2 (Spring 2016): 229-231.
  • Review: Robert D. Lifset, Power on the Hudson: Storm King Mountain and the Emergence of Modern American Environmentalism (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014) Hudson River Valley Review 33 (Fall 2016): 86-89.
  • Review: Andrew Menard, Sight Unseen: How Fremont’s First Expedition Changed the American Landscape (University of Nebraska Press, 2012) Historical Geography 41 (2013): 250-251.
  • Review:David M. Emmons, Beyond the American Pale: The Irish in the West, 1845-1910 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2010) Utah Historical Quarterly 79 (Spring 2011): 195-196.


  • "The Nurseryman, The San Jose Scale, and the Orchard in Gilded Age America," presented at the American Society for Environmental History Conference, Riverside, California, March 15, 2018.
  • "Digital Annotations and the Reclusive Wife," presented at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 21, 2017.
  • "Growing ‘Flower City’: Nurserymen and Horticulture in Nineteenth-Century Rochester, New York," presented at the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Conference, Detroit, Michigan, June 24, 2017.
  • "Reforming Flour City: The Nurserymen of Rochester, New York, 1840-1860," presented at the Agricultural History Society Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 10, 2017.
  • "What is Digital History?" invited talk at Central Michigan University, Museum Studies Program, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, October 24, 2016.
  • Lecture for Introduction to Digital Media Studies, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, "Counting and Connecting Relationships in Historical Manuscripts," October 11, 2016.
  • "The Changing Natures of Flower City: Nurserymen, Suburbs, and the Changing Landscapes of Rochester, New York," presented at the American Society for Environmental History Conference, Seattle, Washington, March 31, 2016.
  • "Digitally Mapping Social Networks of Historical Figures," interview by Evan Dawson, Connections, WXXI  AM, November 3, 2015. .
  • "In the Name of Hiawatha: Landscapes, Literature, and Environmentalism on the Shores of Lake Superior, 1968-1980," presented at Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Conference, Moscow, Idaho, June 26, 2015.
  • "Environmentalism at the Point of Extraction: Viewpoints, Politics, and Memory in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during the Environmental Movement," presented at Michigan Technological University with support from Friends of the Van Pelt Library in Houghton, Michigan, October 14, 2014.
  • Lecture for American Environmental History, Finlandia University, Hancock, Michigan, "American Expansion and Environments of Conquest," February 6, 2014.
  • "Schoolcraft and the Upper Peninsula," presented at Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan as the Grace H. Magnaghi Research Fellow, October 17, 2013.
  • "Northern Michigan in the Gilded Age: Environmental Perceptions and the Rise of a Northern Michigan Vacationland," presented at Great Lakes History Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 11, 2013.
  • "Southern Wilderness: Northern Pioneers Within the Confederate South," presented at American Society for Environmental History Graduate Workshop, Toronto, Ontario, April 6, 2013.


  • University of Rochester HST 194 - History of the American Landscape: At the Crossroads of Ecology and Culture (Summer 2016) Instructor
  • University of Rochester HST 235 - Earth, Wind, Water, Fire: An Environmental History of Everywhere (Fall 2017) Teaching Assistant
  • University of Rochester HST 258 - Women's Lives in Letters, 1830-1880 (Fall 2016) Teaching Assistant
  • Central Michigan University MST 310 - Introduction to Museums (Fall 2013) Teaching Assistant


  • The Newberry Library-American Society for Environmental History Fellowship, The Newberry Library (2018-2019)
  • Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society (2018-2019)
  • Teaching-as-Research Fellowship, University of Rochester, Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (2018)
  • HASTAC Scholars Fellowship, Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (2017-2019)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Digital Humanities Fellowship, University of Rochester (2016-2018)
  • University Fellowship, University of Rochester (2014-2020)
  • University Fellowship, Central Michigan University (2013-2014)

Honors, Awards, and Grants

  • National Science Foundation Travel Grant, In Collaboration with American Society for Environmental History (2018)
  • Dexter Perkins Prize, University of Rochester (2017)
  • CHAViC Summer Seminar Financial Award, American Antiquarian Society (2016)
  • Digital Humanities Summer Institute Scholarship, University of Victoria, British Columbia (2015)
  • Michigan Technological University Archives Travel Grant, Michigan Technological University (2014)
  • Grace H. Magnaghi Visiting Research Grant, Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives (2013)
  • University Dean of Graduate Studies Travel Grant, University of Rochester (2015)
  • Research and Travel Funding, University of Rochester History Department (Spring 2015, Spring 2016)
  • Research and Travel Funding, Central Michigan University History Department (Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013)

Digital Humanities Portfolio