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Bio & Research

Dr. Cynthia E. Chin is a material culture historian focusing on the dress textiles of early America & eighteenth-century Europe and the intersections of emotion, memory, human dignity, replicated experience, and the body/wearing.


Her doctoral dissertation at Georgetown University (2019) examined one of  Martha Washington's  surviving extant gowns as a primary source document crucial to understanding her biography and choices, the permeability of the textile market in British North America, the underrepresented and potentially enslaved makers, and the broader global social, political, and economic ecosystems of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world.

Cynthia holds a B.A. from Colgate University in art history and an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University. She has held positions at George Washington's Mount Vernon, The U.S. House of Representatives, and Deloitte Consulting.




Cynthia's work has  been featured in Textile History, The Junto, Washington's Quill (The Washington Papers Project/The University of Virginia), Mount Vernon Magazine, What Weekly Magazine, The Saranac Review, Ellipsis: Literature and Art, The Slush Pile Magazine, The Baltimore Review, and on

Her most recent lectures and presentations include The National Library for the Study of George Washington, Yale University and the DAR Museum in Washington, D.C.


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Publications & Lectures



Silk brocades, 18th c. Private collection of the author.

Right: French or English stomacher, ca. 1760s.

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