Dr Alice Marples is a historian of science and medicine in Britain and its colonial networks c.1650-1850. Her work focuses on the collection and management of manuscript, material, and human resources across scientific institutions, museums, and archives from the early modern period to the present day. Her research demonstrates how we can use early modern histories of collecting to disrupt established ideas about consumption, scientific practice, and public culture in the movement of knowledge, objects, and people across international networks.
She has a PhD in Early Modern History from King's College London and The British Library (2016), working closely with scholars and curators at Queen Mary, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum on the innovative AHRC-funded project 'Reconnecting Sloane'. Her first monograph, The Transactioneer: Hans Sloane and the Rise of Public Natural History in Eighteenth-Century Britain, uses the collections and networks of one of Britain's most important (and controversial) patrons to explore the early development of popular science and public education during a period of immense colonial and imperial expansion.
Alice has held research positions at the University of Oxford and the John Rylands Research Institute at the University of Manchester, where she co-founded the Manchester Centre for Correspondence Studies in 2017. She has also held visiting research fellowships at the Royal Society, the Royal Archives at Windsor, and the Edward Worth Library in Dublin, among others. She has won a number of prizes, including the Patron's Review from the Society for the History of Natural History (2016) and the Lisa Jardine History of Science Award from the Royal Society (2018). She has been invited to present her research at a range of academic and public venues, including The Huntington Library in California, the BBC History Festival, the University of Vienna, and the Spalding Gentleman's Society.
Alice now works in Research and Postgraduate Development in the cultural sector, and continues to write, teach, speak, and consult on topics related to her research. She is currently serving as the Heritage and Public Engagement Officer and the History of Science Reviews Editor for the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.
She is available for part-time or ad-hoc historical or heritage work and creative collaborations or commissions.
All enquiries are welcome!