Robert C. Post Employment

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Robert C. Post

2001-02 Senior Resident Fellow, Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

1996-01 Adjunct Professor of History, University of Maryland, College Park

1996- Curator Emeritus, National Museum of American History (NMAH), Washington, D.C.

1995-96 Senior Resident Fellow, Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology

1994-95 Assoc. Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, NMAH

1983-94 Curator at Large, NMAH

1981-95 Editor-in-Chief, Technology and Culture, NMAH/Soc. for the History of Technology

1980-82 Curator, Division of Transportation, Dept. of the History of Science and Technology, Nat. Museum of History and Technology (NMHT), and Senior Management Council

1979-80 Senior Editor, Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C.

1977-79 Supervising Historian, Exhibits Task Force, NMHT

1974-77 Special Assistant, Office of the Director, NMHT

1973-74 Museum Technician, Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, NMHT

1972-73 Historian, National Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings, Nat. Park Service, Washington, D.C

1971-72 Research Fellow, Division of Electricity, NMHT

1969-71 Principal Investigator, Los Angeles Metropolitan Hist. Project, City Hall, Los Angeles

1970-71 Acting Instructor, Department of History, UCLA

1966-71 Editorial Assistant, Pacific Historical Review, Ralph Bunche Hall, UCLA

1957-71 Supervisor, Motor Vehicle Division., Los Angeles County Dept. of Beaches.

Leonardo Da Vinci Medal, Society for the History of Technology, 2001

David P. Morgan Distinguished Article Award, Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, 2000

Distinguished Retiring Editor Award, Council of Editors of Learned Journals, 1996

Awards in Recog. of Exceptional Services, Smithsonian, 1995, 93, 92, 1989, 81, 80, 1978, 77, 76

Special Commendation, Society for the History of Technology, 1994

Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering Public Understanding of the Profession, United States Activities Board, Inst. for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 1994

Certificate of Appreciation, American Consulting Engineers Research and Management Foundation, 1991

Certificate of Design Excellence, Print Casebooks, 1978

Certificate of Merit, Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington, 1977

Research Fellowship, John and LaRee Caughey Foundation, Los Angeles, 1972

Predoctoral Resident Fellowship, Smithsonian Research Foundation, 1971-72


Society for the History of Technology, since 1969 (executive council, 1980-2005; editor-in-chief, 1981-95; vice president and president, 1995-98; book review editor, 2000- ; co-chair, 50th anniversary committee)

American Historical Association, since 1969

Organization of American Historians, since 1970

Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, since 1971 (board of directors, 1976-2000; editor, Railroad History, 1980-88; publisher 1989-2000)

Books and Monographs

Who Owns Americas Narrative? The Smithsonian Institution and the Problem of History (in process)

Urban Mass Transit: The Life Story of a Technology (Greenwood Press, 2007)

The SAE Story: One Hundred Years of Mobility (Society of Automotive Engineers, 2005)

Technology, Transport, and Travel in American History (American Historical Association, 2003)

High Performance: The Culture and Technology of Drag Racing (Johns Hopkins; rev. ed. 2001)

Street Railways and the Growth of Los Angeles (Golden West Books, 1990)

The Tancook Whalers: Origins, Rediscovery, Revival (Maine Maritime Museum, 1986)

Physics, Patents, and Politics: A Biography of Charles Grafton Page (Science Hist. Publications USA, 1976)
Edited Volumes

Historical Perspectives on Technology, Society, and Culture, series co-ed. with Pamela O. Long (American Historical Association/Society for the History of Technology, 2000– ), eight vols. to date

Yankee Enterprise: The Rise of the American System of Manufactures, co-ed. with Otto Mayr (Smithsonian Inst. Press, 2nd ed. 1995; orig. pub. 1981; Japanese translation 1984)

The Spirit of Am.Invention (in Japanese) (Assn. for Japan U.S. Community Exchange, 1989)

In Context: History and the History of Technology: Essays in Honor of Melvin Kranzberg, co-ed. with Stephen H. Cutcliffe (Lehigh Univ. Press, 1989)

American Enterprise: Nineteenth-Century Patent Models (Cooper-Hewitt, New York, 1984)

Every Four Years: The American Presidency (Smithsonian Books, rev. ed. 1984, orig. pub. 1980)

The American Land, co-ed. with Joseph Goodwin and Alexis Doster (Smithsonian Books, 1979)

1876: A Centennial Exhibition (National Museum of History and Technology, 1976)
Peer-Reviewed Articles and Essays

"A Narrative for Our Time: The Enola Gay and after that, period," Tech. and Culture 45 (2004): 373-395

"Urban Railways Redivivus: Image and Ideology in Los Angeles, California," in Suburbanising the Masses: Transport and Urban Development in Historical Perspective, ed. Colin Divall and Winstan Bond (National Railway Museum, York, England, 2003), 187-209

"A Very Special Relationship: SHOT and the Smithsonian's Museum of History and Technology," Tech. and Culture 42 (2001): 401-35

"Images of the Pacific Electric: Why Memories Matter," Railroad History 179 (Autumn 1998): 30-69

"The Call of Stories at the Smithsonian Institution: History of Technology and Science in Crisis," ICON: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology 3 (1997): 44-82, co-author with Arthur P. Molella (also translated and published in Magyar Muzeumok)

"Technology in Early America: A View from the 1990s," in Early American Technology: Making and Doing Things from the Colonial Era to 1850, ed. Judith. McGaw (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1994), 16-39

"Americas Electric Railway Beginnings: Trollers and Daft Dummies in Los Angeles," Southern California Quarterly LXIX (1987): 203-221

"Von Daimler und Benz zu Garlits und Beck: Woher kommen die allersschnellsten Rennwagen?" Kultur und Technik 10 (Heft 2, 1986): 114-23

"Reflections of American Science and Technology at the New York Crystal Palace," [British] Journal of American Studies 17 (1983): 337-56

"Science, Public Policy, and Popular Precepts: Alexander Dallas Bache and Alfred Ely Beach as Symbolic Adversaries," in The Sciences in the American Context: New Perspectives, ed. Nathan Reingold (Smithsonian Inst. Press, 1979), 77-98

"Stray Sparks from the Induction Coil: The Volta Prize and the Page Patent," Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers CXIV (1976): 1279-87

"Liberalizers vs Scientific Men in the Antebellum Patent Office," Tech. and Culture 17 (1976): 24-54

"Electromagnetism as a Motive Power: Robert Davidson's Galvani," Railroad History 130 (Spring 1974): 5-22

"The Page Locomotive: Federal Sponsorship of Invention in Mid-19th-Century America," Tech. and Culture 13 (1972): 140-69

"The Fair Fare Fight: An Episode in Los Angeles History," Southern California Quarterly LII (1970): 275-98

Book Reviews

American Historical Review (7), Annals of the History of Computing (2), Annals of Science (2), Historical Preservation, IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology (2), Isis (4), Jour. of American History (8), Jour. of Interdisciplinary History, Jour. of Transport History (2), Jour. of the West (3), Maryland Historical Magazine, Pacific Historical Review (10), Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Railroad History (13), Southern California Quarterly (3), Smithsonian (3), Technology and Culture (9) The Californians (3)
Other Publications

“Two Enthusiasts,” Technology and Culture 48 (2007)

“The Machine in the Garden District," Technology and Culture 47 (2006): 91-94

"Henry Kaiser, Troy Ruttman, and Madman Muntz: Three Originals," Technology and Culture 46 (2005): 773-778

"The Last Steam Railroad in America: Shaffers Crossing, Roanoke, Virginia, 1958," Technology and Culture 44 (2003): 560-565.

"The Tancook Whalers," Maritime Life and Traditions 15 (June 2002): 40-53

"History and the History of Technology," Technology and Culture 43 (2002): 123-27

"A Corner of the Nations Attic," Technology and Culture 42 (2001): 519-22

"Drag Racing," Boyhood in America: An Encyclopedia , ed. Priscilla Ferguson Clement and Jacqueline S. Reiner (ABC-Clio, 2001), 1:217-21

(Presidential Address) "No Mere Technicalities: How Things Work and Why it Matters," Technology and Culture 40 (1999): 607-620

Articles on Acetylene, Acrylics, Alloy Steel, Ammonia, Cable Car, Cast Iron, Cybernetics, Detergents, Diamonds, Enamel, Forging, Glass, Governor, Gunpowder, Gyroscope, Lacquer, Pumps, Servomechanism, Steamboat, Streetcar, Subway, Tanker, Trolleybus, Technological Enthusiasm, Encyclopedia of Science, Tech., and Society, ed. Rudi Volti (Facts on File, 1999)

"Charles Grafton Page," American National Biography (Oxford Univ. Press, 1999), 16:897-99.

Fourteenth and G, Washington, D.C., Summer of 1941, Tech. and Culture 39 (1998): 728-32

"The Myth Behind the Streetcar Revival," American Heritage, May 1998, pp. 95-100

"Hot Rods and Customs at the Oakland Museum," Technology and Culture 39 (1998):116-21

"Remembering Lions," Full Throttle News 4 (Sept./Oct. 1997):8-10+

"The Founder: Melvin Kranzberg (1917-1995)," Technology and Culture 27 (1996): 421-28

"The Thrall of the Blue Riband," Invention & Technology 11 (Winter 1996): 8-19

"Passing the Baton," Technology and Culture 36 (1995): 735-38

"This Was the Year that Was," Technology Review 97 (January 1994): 68-69

"Frank P. Donovan, Jr., and A Delmarva Branch Line Odyssey," Railroad History 170 (Spring 1994): 72-94

"Strip, Salt, and Other Straightaway Dreams," in Possible Dreams: Enthusiasm for Technology in America, ed. John Wright (Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, 1992), 98-109

"Railroad History: What's the Object?" Railroad History 167 (Autumn 1992): 5-11

"The Machines of Nowhere," Invention & Technology 8 (Spring 1992): 28-35

"Transportation," World Book Encyclopedia 19 (1991): 380-97 (and 18 shorter articles for World Book)

"Invention in Nineteenth-Century America," in Icons of Invention: American Patent Models (Smithsonian Inst. Press, 1990), 14-18

"Some Traction Prehistory," in Pioneers of Electric Railroading (Electric Railroaders Assn., 1990), 1-6

"A Few Words About this Picture: Demolishing a Marvel Built for the Ages," Invention & Technology 5 (Winter 1990): 30-31

"Turning the Century," in Images of America, ed. Joseph Goodwin (Smithsonian Books, 1989), 108-37

"Invention in 19th-Century America," in The Spirit of American Invention (Tokyo, 1989), 17-20

"The Cars Wont Fly," Air and Space 1 (August-September 1986): 76-84

"In Praise of Top Fuelers," Invention & Technology 1 (Spring 1986): 58-63

Preface, The Wessaweskeag Thorndikes (Maine Maritime Museum, 1986)

"Tancook Island: Birthplace of the Tancook Whaler," Quarterboard, Spring 1986, pp. 4-5+

"Patent Models: Symbols for an Era," in American Enterprise (Cooper-Hewitt, 1984), 8-13

"Taking the Baton," Technology and Culture 23 (1982): 1-2

"A Marvel of Engineering," Historic Preservation 33 (July-August 1981): 59-63 (essay review of The Engineering Drawings of Benjamin Henry Latrobe)

Editors Page, Railroad History 143-158 inclusive (1980-88), 5+

"The President as Popular Tribune," in Every Four Years (Smithsonian Books, 1980; rev. ed., 1984), 66-75

"Indiana Salvage: Oldest American Marine Engine Recovered," Society for Industrial Archeology Newsletter 7 (September 1979): 1+

"The American Genius," in The Smithsonian Book of Invention, ed. Alexis Doster (Smithsonian Books, 1978; rev. ed., 1982), 22-3l

"From Pillar to Post: The Plight of the Patent Models," IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 4 (1978): 58-60

Am. Maritime Enterprise: Checklist and Guide (Nat. Museum of History and Technology, 1978)

"Museum Exhibits: A Look at the Smithsonian's 1876," and Culture 17 (1977): 480-82

"Manuscript Sources for Railroad History," Railroad History 137 (Autumn 1977): 38-63

"Introduction, 1876: A Centennial Offering" (Iowa State Univ. Press, 1977)

"Signers of the Constitution," contributing author (Nat. Survey of Hist.Sites and Buildings, 1976)

"Steel Ropes into the Howling Wilderness," in Los Angeles: Biography of a City, eds. John W. Caughey and LaRee Caughey (Univ. of California Press, 1976), 192-97

"A Look Backward: 233 Years of Electricity in America," Electrical Contractor 31 (July 1976): 26-35+

"Louis Agassiz, Scientist and Teacher," in A Nation of Nations, ed. Peter C. Marzio (Harper, 1976), 324-25

"Story of the Pacific Railway," Outlook West (Santa Monica Evening Outlook), Sept. 11, 1976

"Benjamin Dearborn's Railroad Memorial of 1819," Railroad History 132 (Spring 1975): 84-86

Formal Instruction in Industrial Archeology, History of Technology, and Related Fields in North American Colleges and Universities (Society for Industrial Archeology, 1975)

"Arno Reprints Reconsidered (Again)," IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 1 (1975): 68-69

"Film and the Historian of Technology," Technology and Culture 16 (1975): 435-37

"Coppertown U.S.A.", Society for Industrial Archeology Newsletter 3 (January 1974): 3+ (and seventeen other articles for the SIA Newsletter, 1973-74)

The Washington Career of Charles Grafton Page (University Microfilms, 1974)

Sites Associated with Social and Humanitarian Movements in America, contributing author (Nat. Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings, 1974)

Los Angeles and its Environs in the Twentieth Century: A Bibliography of a Metropolis, principal investigator (Ward Ritchie Press, 1973)
Symposia, Lectures, and Program Sessions (selected)
Society for the History of Technology, 2007, 05, 03, 2000, 1999, 98, 97, 96, 93, 92, 1989, 87, 84, 82, 80, 1977, 76, 74

Lecture Series, Talbot County Free Library, 2007, 2004

Workshop Series, Department of History and Sociology of Science, Univ. of Pennsylvania, 2003

Keynote, Technology Studies: New Frontiers and Uncharted Territory, Stevens Institute, Hoboken, 2002

Science and Technology Studies Seminar Series, Colby College, Waterville, Maine, 2002, 1996

Resident Fellows Colloquium, Dibner Institute, Mass. Institute of Technology, 2002, 1996

Department of History/History Associates, Case Western Reserve University, 2000

Ivan Allen College, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2000

International Committee for the History of Technology, Prague, 2000

Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 1999

Business History Conference, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1999

Keynote, Detroit Technology and Culture Forum, Dearborn, Mich., 1998

International Summer Laboratory, Dibner Institute, 1998

Institute of Railway Studies, National Railway Museum, York, England, 1997

Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, Calif., 1997

Center for the Hist. of Business, Tech., and Society, Hagley Museum, Greenville, Del., 1997

Centennial Celebration in Honor of Bern Dibner, Dibner Institute, 1997

Keynote, Advanced Engine Technology Conference, Colorado Springs, 1997

Symposium on the California Car Culture, Oakland Museum of California, 1996

Society of Automotive Historians, Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Mich., 1996

International Committee for the History of Technology, Budapest, 1996

Society for Commercial Archeology/Automobile Club of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1996

History of Technology Annual Lecture, Loyola College of Maryland, Baltimore, 1996

Cars and Culture, Pitzer College, Claremont, Calif., 1995, 1992

STS Colloquium, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., 1994

Colloquium on Business, Technology, and Society, Hagley Museum and Library, 1993

Symposium on the European Backgrounds of the American System, Dibner Institute, 1993

Keynote, Internat. Drag Racing Hall of Fame, Ocala, Florida, 1991 (also 1993, 95, 97, 99, 2002)

History Colloquium, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Penn., 1991

Thomas Jefferson Lecture, National Inventors Hall of Fame, Akron, Ohio, 1990

Graduate Colloquium, University of Akron, 1990

Series on Material Aspects of American Civilization, George Washington University, 1988, 1984

History Colloquium, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1985

Kolloquium, Forschungsinstitut des Deutschen Museums, Munich, 1984

Colloquium Series, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C., 1984

Series on American Patent Models, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York, 1984

Series on The Peoples Choice, based on Every Four Years, NBC Television, Hollywood, 1980

History Colloquium, University of Delaware, Newark, 1979, 1975

Organization of American Historians, Atlanta, Georgia, 1977

Series on American Culture, Smithsonian Associates, Washington, D.C., 1976

The Sciences in America: A Bicentennial Retrospective, American Association for the. Advancement of Science, Boston, 1976

Symposium on Using and Abusing the American Past, Old Sturbridge Village, Mass., 1975

Crystal Palace Symposium, City University of New York Graduate Center, 1974

Nineteenth Century Seminar, Joseph Henry Papers, Smithsonian Institution, 1974

Missouri Valley Historical Assn., Omaha, Neb., 1974

School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1974

Joseph Henry Symposium, Am. Assn. Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C., 1972

Graduate Students History Colloquium, University of California, Los Angeles, 1971, 1970, 1969


"This Is the History People Often Care Most About: An Interview with Ruth Schwartz Cowan,"

Invention & Technology 19 (Summer 2003): 59-62

"What Engineers Know: An Interview with Walter Vincenti," Invention & Technology 12 (Winter 1997): 20-26

"Renaissance Man: An Interview with George Krambles," Railroad History 175 (Autumn 1996): 69-91

"The Frailties and Beauties of Technological Creativity: An Interview with John M. Staudenmaier," Invention & Technology 8 (Spring 1993): 16-24

"A Life With Trains: An Interview with John H. White, Jr.," Invention & Technology 6 (Fall 1990): 34-40

"Missionary: An Interview with Melvin Kranzberg," Invention & Technology 4 (Winter 1989): 34-39

Exhibitions (selected)

Ft. Wadsworth (New York) Visitor Center, Howard-Revis /NPS (1997- ), scriptwriter

Science in American Life, NMAH (1994 - ), scriptwriter

A Material World, NMAH (1988-2002), curator and scriptwriter

Swamp Rat: The Making of a Drag Racing Legend, NMAH (1987), curator and scriptwriter

Lobstering and the Maine Coast, Maine Maritime Museum (1985 - ), project humanist

American Enterprise: Nineteenth-Century Patent Models, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York (1984), curator

The Indiana: History From the Bottom Up, NMAH (1981), curator and scriptwriter

American Maritime Enterprise, NMHT (1978 - 2006), curator and scriptwriter

1876: A Centennial Exhibition, NMHT (1976-96), historian

American Banking, NMHT (1975), historian

Ornamental Turning Lathes, NMHT (1974), draftsman

Photo and Film Credits (selected)

American Heritage, American Historical Association, Greenwood Press, Kultur und Technik, Invention and Technology, Locomotive & Railway Preservation, Museum of Drag Racing, Nat. Museum of American History, Nat. Park Service, Nat. Railway Museum (York, England), Quest Productions, Railroad History, Smithsonian Books, Tech. and Culture, Tehabi Books

Am. Consulting Engineers Council; Am. Heritage; Am. National Biography; Am. Merchant Marine Museum; Am. Soc. of Mechanical Engineers; Eisterhold Associates, Inc.; Facts on File; Franklin Institute; George Washington Univ.; Greenwood Press; Guggenheim Foundation; Henry Ford Museum; History Now; Howard-Revis Design Associates; Independence Seaport Museum; Johns Hopkins Univ. Press; Maine Maritime Museum; Motor Sports Hall of Fame; Museum of Drag Racing; Nat. Air & Space Museum; Nat. Endowment for the Humanities; Nat. Inventors Hall of Fame; Nat. Park Service; Nat. Public Radio; Nat. Science Foundation; Oxford Univ. Press; PBS; Smithsonian Inst. Press; Soc. for Industrial Archeology; Stanford Univ. Press; Staples & Charles Ltd.; Tehabi Books; Univ. of Arizona Press; Univ. of Calif. Press; Univ. of Chicago Press; Univ. of Texas Press; Woodrow Wilson International Center; World Book Encyclopedia


Contemporary Authors, vol. 148; Smithsonian, Jan. 1988; Pasadena Star News, Feb. 25, 1990; Invention & Technology, Fall 1994; Technology Review, Jan. 1995; Iron Game History, May 1998; Railroad History, Autumn 2000; Technology and Culture, January 2002

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