Elizabeth Yale

Assistant Professor, UICB/History

Elizabeth Yale is a historian of science and the book in the early modern world. She received her PhD in the history of science from Harvard University in 2008. She has previously taught at Harvard and Western Carolina University. She joined the History Department at the University of Iowa in 2017. Yale is the author of Sociable Knowledge: Natural History and the Nation in Early Modern Britain (link is external) (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). She is currently working on a project tracing the afterlives of early modern scientific and medical papers, including their archiving, posthumous publication, and destruction. In tracing these afterlives, this project reveals the roles of families, especially women, in the creation and public communication of scientific and medical knowledge. This material and cultural history of papers also sheds new light on one of the key transformations of the modern world: the emergence of natural science as an activity undertaken towards the public good and of scientists as public figures.

Dr. Yale teaches courses on a number of topics in early modern history, including the history of science and medicine, book history, women and gender, and British history. In her courses, she seeks to set European history in its broader global contexts. She also teaches courses in the material analysis of early modern print and manuscript texts through the University of Iowa Center for the Book.

Specific courses include:

History 1006: Science, Discovery, and Trade, 1200-1800

History 1402: Western Civilization II

History 4431: Early Modern England

History 4427: Society and Gender, 1200-1789

History 4920: The History of the Book in the Early Modern World

History 4430/UICB 4930: Topics in Material Analysis


Sociable Knowledge: Natural History and the Nation in Early Modern Britain. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

“The Book and the Archive in the History of Science,” Isis 107 (2016): 106-115.

“History of Archives: The State of the Discipline.” Book History 18 (2015): 332-359.

“Making Lists: Social and Material Technologies for Seventeenth-Century British Natural History.” In Ways of Making and Knowing: The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge, 1400-1850, ed. Pamela H. Smith, Amy Meyers, and Harold Cook. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2014.

“Marginalia, Commonplaces, and Correspondence: The Scribal Culture of Early Modern Science.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2011): 193-202.

“With Slips and Scraps: How Early Modern Naturalists Invented the Archive.” Book History, 12 (2009): 1-36.

J.D.P. Kenney and E.E. Yale. “Hubble Space Telescope Imaging of Bipolar Nuclear Shells in the Disturbed Virgo Cluster Galaxy NGC 4438.” The Astrophysical Journal 67.2 (2002): 865-874

J.D.P. Kenney and E.E. Yale. “HST Imaging of Bipolar Nuclear Shells in the Disturbed Virgo Cluster Galaxy NGC 4438.” American Astronomical Society Meeting 196, 16.05 (2000): 695.

Research Fellowships and Awards

Visiting Scholar, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Fall 2016

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Critical Bibliography, 2014-2016

Huntington Library Travel Grant to the United Kingdom, 2012

Book History Graduate Student Essay Prize, 2009

ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2007-08