Dr Lisa Smith

Department of History
Dr Lisa Smith
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 874120

  • Location

    5NW.7.10, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    During summer term: April 24 (Weds), 11:00-13:00; May 2 (Thurs) 10:30-12:30; from May 6, by appointment.



Its as simple as this: I like stories. People and their stories are endlessly interesting. In fact, I very nearly went into literature instead of history, but what made me realise that I should be a historian is that I like piecing together stories from fragments of information. I studied history at the University of Alberta and the University of Essex. From 2002 to 2015, I was a member of the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan. In September 2015, I returned to the University of Essex. My long-standing interests are on gender, health, the household, and the body--particularly, pain, illness experience, reproduction/infertility and domestic medicine. I am developing an online database of Sir Hans Sloane's correspondence (c. 1685-1750) and am a co-investigator on a crowd-sourcing recipes transcription project (Early Modern Recipes Online Collective). In addition, I am a founding editor for The Recipes Project blog and have written about my research at The Sloane Letters Blog, Notches, and Wonders & Marvels. I tweet as @historybeagle. Dissertation Supervision I am happy to supervise projects on any of the topics listed above, as well as more general topics (ca. 1500-1850).


  • Ph.D., University of Essex (2002)

  • M.A., University of Alberta (1997)

  • B.A. Hons. in Honours History, University of Alberta (1995)


University of Essex

  • Postgraduate Research Director, History, University of Essex (1/10/2018 - present)

Other academic

  • Secretary, Editorial Board of Social History of Medicine, Society for the Social History of Medicine (1/6/2012 - present)

  • Member, Editorial Board (English), (1/1/2014 - present)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Britain and France, ca 1600-1800

Open to supervise

Digital History

Open to supervise

Medicine and Science

Open to supervise


Open to supervise


Open to supervise

Gender History

Open to supervise

Conferences and presentations

A Recipe for a Virtual Conference

Invited presentation, Learning Spaces: Education Conference, Colchester, United Kingdom, 11/1/2018

'The Multiple Meanings of an Eighteenth-Century Caesarean Section'

British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, Oxford, United Kingdom, 4/1/2018

Chance encounters with the past: crowdsourcing early modern recipes

Invited presentation, Digital History Seminar, London, United Kingdom, 12/12/2017

'Recipe Books and Family Histories'

Keynote presentation, Essex History Group, Essex Records Office, 15/11/2017

'Seventeenth-Century Saturday Kitchen, or Hanna Woolley's Recipes for Queen-Like Living Every Day'

Keynote presentation, The Plume Lecture, Thomas Plume's Library, Maldon, 11/11/2017

'Sir Hans Sloane's Supernatural Correspondence'

Keynote presentation, Community Science Programme, Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall, London, 26/10/2017

'Easing Childbirth Pain in Early Modern France'

Invited presentation, Knowledge in Context: Colloquium in Honour of Laurence Brockliss and Colin Jones, Oxford, United Kingdom, 23/9/2017

'What is a Recipe? The Editors' Final Panel Livestreamed'

What is a Recipe? A Virtual Conversation, The Wellcome Library, 10/7/2017

'Historical Pang-Relievers and Birth Quickeners: A Twitter Panel'

What is a Recipe? A Virtual Conversation, @historybeagle, 22/6/2017

'Introducing Margaret Baker, a Twitter essay'

What is a Recipe? A Virtual Conversation, @historybeagle, 15/6/2017

'Imagining Inexpressible Suffering in the Eighteenth Century'

Invited presentation, Early Modern Group Seminar, Durham, United Kingdom, 7/6/2017

'Gender and the Circulation of Hans Sloane's Books'

Invited presentation, The Material Culture of Citizen Science Workshop,, Oxford, United Kingdom, 12/5/2017

'Imagining the Hidden: Inexpressible Suffering in the Eighteenth Century'

Keynote presentation, Gender and Pain in Modern History Conference,, London, United Kingdom, 25/3/2017

'Digital Methods'

Invited presentation, Source of Knowledge: Teaching with Archival Collections, The Gerald Aylmer Workshop,, London, 25/2/2017

'Collaborating with Students on the Digital Recipe Books Project'

Invited presentation, From Strongroom to Classroom: Archives and Teaching in Higher Education, The Gerald Aylmer Seminar, London, 24/2/2017

'Finding Hans Sloane'

Invited presentation, Celebration of Science: Science, Fiction, and Storytelling, London, 22/10/2016

Roundtable on 'The Place of the Digital History of Medicine', (organiser and participant)

Society for the Social History of Medicine Conference, Canterbury, United Kingdom, 9/7/2016

'Hans Sloane's Human Fossils'

', Corpses, Cadavers and Catalogues: The Mobilities of Dead Bodies and Body Parts, Past and Present,, London, 17/5/2016

'Recipes to improve your love life: advice from the eighteenth century'

Keynote presentation, In Sickness and in Health: Recipes for Relationships, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 31/3/2016

'Finding Hans Sloane'

Social History Society Conference, Lancaster, United Kingdom, 22/3/2016

'Close-reading and Crowd-sourcing'

Invited presentation, Citizen Science in Historical Perspective, Berlin, Germany, 19/2/2016

'Fragments from an Eighteenth-century Family Scandal'

Invited presentation, History of Medicine Group, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 17/2/2016

'Considering an Account of an Eighteenth-Century Caesarean Section'

Invited presentation, The Medical World of Early Modern Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, 3/9/2015

'Hans Sloane and the Huguenots: Crossing Borders in the Republic of Letters'

Social Networks Conference 1450-1850, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 16/7/2015

'Reconstructing Dr. Sloane: Gender, Expertise and Identity for an Eighteenth-Century Physician'

Invited presentation, History of Medicine Unit, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 4/6/2015

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture (CS101)

  • Navigating the Digital World (CS220)

  • The Making of the Modern World since 1750 (HR100)

  • Becoming a Historian (HR101)

  • Europe Transformed: 1450-1750 (HR111)

  • History Works: Beyond Your BA (HR200)

  • Approaches to History (HR211)

  • Choosing Your Past: How to Design and Manage a Research Project (HR231)

  • Supernatural and Natural Worlds in Early Modern Europe (HR250)

  • The Early Modern Households Project (HR650)

  • Research Project (HR831)


Journal articles (7)

Laroche, R., Leong, E., Munroe, J., Nunn, H., Smith, L. and Tigner, A., (2018). Becoming Visible: Recipes in the Making. Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 13 (1), 133-143

Smith, LW., (2013). 'Bespelled in the Archives'.. The Appendix: A New Journal of Narrative and Experimental History. 1 (2)

Smith, LW., (2011). The Body Embarrassed? Rethinking the Leaky Male Body in Eighteenth-Century England and France. Gender & History. 23 (1), 26-46

Smith, LW., (2010). Imagining Women’s Fertility before Technology. Journal of Medical Humanities. 31 (1), 69-79

Lisa Wynne Smith, (2008). “An Account of an Unaccountable Distemper”: The Experience of Pain in Early Eighteenth-Century England and France. Eighteenth-Century Studies. 41 (4), 459-480

Smith, L., (2006). The Relative Duties of a Man: Domestic Medicine in England and France, ca. 1685–1740. Journal of Family History. 31 (3), 237-256

Smith, LW., (2003). Society for the Social History of Medicine Student Millennium Prize Essay: Reassessing the Role of the Family: Women's Medical Care in Eighteenth-century England. Social History of Medicine. 16 (3), 327-342

Book chapters (4)

Smith, LW., (2019). The Many Meanings of an Eighteenth-Century Account of a Caesarean Operation. In: Early Modern Ireland and the World of Medicine: Practitioners, Collectors and Contexts. Editors: Cunningham, J., . Manchester University Press

Smith, LW., (2012). Sloane as friend and physician of the family. In: From Books to Bezoars: Sir Hans Sloane and his Collections. Editors: Walker, A., Macgregor, A. and Hunter, M., . The British Library. 48- 56. 978-0-7123-5880-4

Smith, LW., (2011). Secrets of place: The medical casebooks of Vivant-Augustin Ganiare. In: Secrets and Knowledge in Medicine and Science, 1500-1800. 213- 231. 9780754668541

Smith, LW., (2010). La Raillerie des Femmes? Les Femmes, La Sterilité et la Société en France à l’Époque Moderne. In: Femmes en Fleurs: Santé, Sexualité et Génération du Moyen Age aux Lumières. Editors: McClive, C. and Pellegrin, N., . Publications de l’Université de Saint-Etienne. 203- 220. 978-2-86272-539-0

Other (2)

Smith, LW., (2017).Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern France: Treatises by Caring Physicians and Surgeons (1581-1625): Francois Rousset, Jean Liebault, Jacques Guillemeau, Jacques Duval and Louis De Serres.. RENAISSANCE AND REFORMATION. 40(1)

Smith, LW., (2016).Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in Early Modern England by Jennifer Evans. Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 90(4),Project Muse

Grants and funding


European cuisine and British identity in the age of nationalism, 1760-1837

British Academy

+44 (0) 1206 874120


5NW.7.10, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

During summer term: April 24 (Weds), 11:00-13:00; May 2 (Thurs) 10:30-12:30; from May 6, by appointment.