Marsha Richmond

Marsha Richmond



313-577-6987 (fax)

3163 Faculty/Administration Building

Download CV

Marsha Richmond

Marsha Richmond is a historian of biology whose research interests focus on heredity (genetics), evolution, and cell theory from Darwin through the 1940s.  Her recent publications focus on the role of gender in the life sciences and women's work in academic biology once they gained access to higher education in the late nineteenth century.  She served as an Editor on the Darwin Correspondence Project in Cambridge, England, 1987-1993.  A member of several professional societies, she is currently President of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISH) and will serve until July 2019.  She is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the History of Biology, along with Dr. Karen Rader (Virginia Commonwealth University), 2018-2022.

Research Interest/Area of Expertise

  •  History of Biology, with a focus on genetics

  •  Women in Science

  •  Gender


Richmond's book manuscript, The Making of a Heretic: Richard Goldschmidt and German Genetics, 1900-1940, undergoing final revisions, highlights the rise of developmental genetics during the classical period.  Her current book project, in collaboration with Ida Stamhuis (Vrije University, Amsterdam), is entitled "Women in Science: The Case of Genetics, 1900-1940” and provides an international comparison of the experiences of women who worked in genetics from 1900 (with the rediscovery of Mendel's work) through the 1940s.

Education – Degrees, Licenses, Certifications

  • Ph.D., History of Science, Indiana University-Bloomington, 1986
  • MA Program (no degree), University of Oklahoma
  • B.A., University of Oklahoma, 1976

Awards and Grants

  • Foreign collaborator, Group of History and Theory of Biology (Grupo de História e Teoria da Biologia), CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development), Brazil, 2016-.

  • Margaret W. Rossiter Award for best article on the History of Women in Science, for "The `Domestication' of Heredity: The Familial Organization of Geneticists at Cambridge University, 1895-1910," Journal of the History of Biology, 2010.  

  •  “Women in the Early History of Genetics,” National Science Foundation, Scholars Award, SES-0620308, 2007-2010, $136,065.

Selected Publications

  • “Women as Public Scientists in the Atomic Age: Rachel Carson, Charlotte Auerbach, and Genetics,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 47, 3 (2017), pp. 349–388.
  • “Revisiting the Origins of Genetics,” with Staffan Müller-Wille, in Heredity Explored, ed. Staffan Müller-Wille and Christina Brandt (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2016), pp. 367-394.
  • “A Scientist during Wartime: Richard Goldschmidt’s Internment during the First World War,” Endeavour, 39, 1 (2015): 52-62.“Women as Mendelians and Geneticists,” Science and Education, 24, 1-2 (2015): 125-150.
  • “Opportunities for Women in Early Genetics – An International Perspective,” with Ida Stamhuis, in Elisabeth Schiemann (18811972): Vom AufBruch der Genetik und der Frauen in den UmBrüchen des 20. Jahrhunderts, ed. Reiner Nűrnberg, Ekkehard Höxtermann, and Martina Voigt (Rangsdorf: Basilisken-Presse im Verlag Natur & Text, 2014), pp. 3-33.
  • “Charles Darwin and the Barnacles,” in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought, ed. Michael Ruse (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
  • “A Model Collaborative Couple in Genetics: Anna Rachel Whiting and Phineas Westcott Whiting’s Study of Sex Determination in Habrobracon,” in For Better or For Worse: Collaborative Couples in the Sciences. Ed. Annette Lykknes, Donald Opitz, and Brigitte Van Tiggelen (Basel: Birkhäuser/Springer, 2012), pp. 149-169.
  • “Women in Mutation Studies: The Role of Gender in the Methods, Practices, and Results of Early Twentieth-Century Genetics,” in Making Mutations: Objects, Practices, Contexts, ed. Louis Campos and Alexander von Schwerin. Preprint #393, (Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 2010), pp. 11-48.
  • “William Bateson’s Pre-Mendelian Research Program in `Heredity and Development,’” in A Cultural History of Heredity IV: Heredity in the Century of the Gene. Ed. Staffan Müller-Wille and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger. Preprint #343 (Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2008), pp. 214-242.
  • “The Cell as the Basis for Heredity, Development, and Evolution: Richard Goldschmidt’s Program of Physiological Genetics,” in From Embryology to Evo-Devo: A History of Evolutionary Development. Ed. Jane Maienschein and Manfred D. Laubichler (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2007).
  • "`A Lab of One's Own': The Balfour Biological Laboratory for Women at Cambridge University, 1884-1914," in History of Women in the Sciences: An Isis Reader, ed. Sally Gregory Kohlstedt (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); rpt. in Gendered Spaces in the Physical Sciences: History and Architecture of the Laboratory, ed. Maria Rentetzi (Heraklion, Greece: Crete University Press/Foundation for Research and Technology, 2008).
  • “Muriel Wheldale Onslow and Early Biochemical Genetics,” Journal of the History of Biology, 40 (2007): 389-426.
  • “Opportunities for Women in Early Genetics,” Nature Reviews Genetics 8 (2007): 897-902.
  • “The `Domestication’ of Heredity: The Familial Organization of Geneticists at Cambridge University, 1895-1910,” Journal of the History of Biology, 39 (2006): 565-605.
  • “The Darwin Celebration of 1909: Re-evaluating Evolution in the Light of Mendel, Mutation, and Meiosis,” Isis, 97 (2006): 447-484.
  • “Richard Goldschmidt and the Crossing-Over Controversy,” with Michael R. Dietrich, Genetics, 161 (June 2002): 477-482.
  • “Thomas Henry Huxley’s Developmental View of the Cell,” Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 3 (January 2002): 61-65.
  • “Women in the Early History of Genetics: William Bateson and the Newnham College Mendelians, 1900-1910,” Isis, 92 (2001): 55-90.
  • “British Cell Theory on the Eve of Genetics,” Endeavour: A Quarterly Magazine for the History and Philosophy of Science, 25, 2 (2001): 55-59.
  • "T. H. Huxley's Criticism of German Cell Theory: An Epigenetic and Physiological Interpretation of Cell Structure," Journal of the History of Biology, 33 (2000): 247-289.
  • "`A Lab of One's Own': The Balfour Biological Laboratory for Women at Cambridge University, 1884-1914," Isis, 88 (1997): 422-455.
  • "Protozoa as Precursors of Metazoa: German Cell Theory and its Critics at the Turn of the Century," Journal of the History of Biology, 22 (1989): 223-246.
  • "Darwin's Study of the Cirripedia," in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4 (1989), Appendix II, pp. 388-409.


Currently Teaching

  • HIS 5425 / 7425: American Environmental History

  • HIS 3998 / HON 4250: Agriculture and Food in American History

Courses taught

HIS 2240: History of Michigan
HIS 3440/HON 4280/HIS 3440: American Medicine in the 20th Century
HIS 3998/HON 4250: Agriculture and Food in American History
HIS 5425/7425: American Environmental History
HIS 5996: History Capstone for Majors

Citation Index

  •  History of Science, Technology & Medicine

  •  Web of Science