Ellan F. Spero
Ellan F. Spero
Ellan F. Spero is a Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the program in history, anthropology, science technology, and society. Before coming to MIT, she received a B.S./M.S. degree in fiber science at Cornell University as well as an M.A. in museum studies and textile and fashion history at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York. Her dissertation project engages nascent-stage academic-industrial collaboration during the interwar period, a particularly critical time of self-definition for American higher education in science and technology. Using product-oriented applied chemical research at MIT as a case study, she examines science education and laboratory practice within the academic-industrial context, both as a process of boundary negotiation and of broader institutional change.
At the Othmer Library of Chemical History, Spero will be studying the records of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists; the American Chemical Society’s Cellulose, Paper, and Textile Division; and oral histories of textile scientists. These professional organizations are central to the broader history of textile science and related chemical fields. She is especially interested in the role that these organizations played in shaping professional identity, defining and promoting research problems, and serving as points of intersection between academic and industrial laboratories.