Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Independent Historian
Website URL
Long Island History, New York Metropolitan area, Maritime History, Coastal History, Museum Education, Oyster Industry, Scallop Industry, Deep Sea Whaling Industry, Historical Memory, Women in History, Family History, Radium Girls/ Radium Dial Painters, Urban Waterfront, Park System, Parks and recreation
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Erin Boris earned her BA in Anthropology and History in 2017 and her MA in History in 2018- both from Stony Brook University. Her archaeological field experiences during her undergraduate studies took her to the forests of Southeastern Connecticut, the scrub brush steppes of California and Nevada’s Western Great Basin, and the suburbs of Long Island. Erin earned her MS in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University at Shreveport in December 2020.

During her graduate studies at Stony Brook, Erin researched the participation of Long Island Native peoples (specifically the Shinnecock, Montaukett, and Unkechaug nations) in the deep sea whaling industry, fishing industry, and the military; Erin focused on the ways in which women participated in these traditionally masculinized industries through and beside their husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, etc.  Her historical research focuses on the convergence of women, labor, and the environment through a global extractive maritime economy. Her work in museums grapples with investing local peoples in their resources (historical, environmental, and archaeological) as stakeholders through outreach, museum education, and the development of new public programming.

Erin has previously worked as the Visitor Services & Volunteer Coordinator at the Long Island Maritime Museum, a museum educator with the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, and an archaeology educator with the Suffolk County Archaeological Association. Starting in 2021, Erin created LIMM’s  first ever Maritime Miler Virtual Challenge, an educational and physical journey to raise donations and awareness for the Long Island Maritime Museum. This challenge ran from May 2021- the end of November 2021. She is very excited to continue working on virtual fundraising to support her community’s involvement in maritime history.Erin’s interest in the marine environment of Long Island has driven her to volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Horseshoe Crab Survey and with the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society for beach cleanups, sea turtle necropsies, and seal population surveys.

In collaboration with Caroline Propersi-Grossman, Erin created a podcast, titled “Scholars Beyond The Tower: Conversations From Our Fields”, (currently on hiatus) which launched in June 2020.

Erin’s current research focuses on the New York/ New Jersey Radium dial painting industry. The United States’ industrial might, commercial markets, military needs, public health, gendered labor, and legal system collided in the early 20th century over the tragic case of the New Jersey radium dial painters.  Her current project aims to bring together historic news stories, oral history, internal correspondence from the United States Radium Corporation, environmental data,  and family history to explore the legacy of the New Jersey radium dial painting industry with a focus on: 1) the inherent gendered violence in the deliberate harmful exposure of  young, female dial painters to radium, 2) the physical, toxic state of the land left behind and the complications experienced by its current residents, and 3) issues of health and generational trauma among the families of the dial painters.

Recent Publications

Children’s Books:

Lighthouses Around the World. Benchmark Education  


‘“Natural and Cultural Treasures”: On Access and Activism in Building Urban Park Systems in Seattle and New York/ New Jersey” Journal of Urban History (December 30, 2021)

“A Thing Of the Past: A Nativity Set,” Contingent Magazine (December 25, 2021)

“In The Forest,” Lyme Museum (December 5, 2021) 

“The Jewel of Eastern Long Island: Precarity and the Peconic Bay Scallop Industry”, Gotham Center for New York City History (October 3, 2020)

“Great Grandma Barrett was a Shining Woman: Reflections on the Radium Girls and Industrial Disease,” Gotham Center for New York City History (December 3, 2019) 

“A Long Islander’s Depiction of Unkechaug Women,” NY History Blog: Historical News & Views from the Empire State (October 29, 2019)

“Dutch Baymen, Blue Points, and Oyster Crazed New Yorkers,” Gotham Center for New York City History  (June 6, 2019)

Book Reviews:

Review of Enemy of Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Middle Ground Journal (February 2023)

Review of George Washington’s Long Island Spy Ring: A History and Tour Guide. Long Island History Journal. Vol 30. (December 2022)

Review of Underground Empires: Two Centuries of Exploration, Adventure, and Expertise in New York’s Cave Country, Hudson River Valley Institute (Summer 2022)

Review of A Prison In The Woods: Environment and Incarceration in New York’s North Country, New York Almanack (2022)

Review of The Floating Pool Lady: A Quest to Bring a Public Pool to New York City’s Waterfront, Global Maritime History (February 2022)

Review of An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns and the Struggle for Women’s Rights, New York History Journal. (February 2022)

Review of Shark Attacks of New York, Global Maritime History (December 2021)

Review of The Coffin Ship: Life and Death at Sea During the Great Irish Famine, H-Environment (October 2021)

Review of The Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait, Global Maritime History (July 2021)

Review of The Whale and His Captors; Or, The Whaleman’s Adventures, H-Net Environment (May 4, 2021) 

Review of The Last Slave Ships: New York and the End of the Middle Passage, Global Maritime History (February 15, 2021)

Review of Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean, Global Maritime History  (September 21, 2020) 

Review of Long Island and the Sea: A Maritime History, Global Maritime History (May 18, 2020) 

Review of Chesapeake Requiem: A Year With the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island, Global Maritime History (March 16, 2020) 

Review of Waterfront Manhattan: From Henry Hudson to the High Line, Global Maritime History, (January 6, 2020)

“How Archaeologists Peer From Space into Our Past,” Review of Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past, Read More Science (December 20, 2019) 


Consultant on Virtual Aquapolis  (2021-2022).

2021 Maritime Miler: A Virtual Challenge for the Love Island Maritime Musuem. GiveSignUp. (May 1, 2021- November 30, 2021)

Scholars Beyond the Tower: Conversations From Our Fields. Podcast co-hosted with Caroline Propersi-Grossman (On Hiatus).

Public Presentations/ Lectures:

Great Grandma Barrett Was a Shining Woman: Reflections on the Radium Girls and Industrial Disease, The Devil’s Porridge Museum’s Women in War Conference (May 21, 2021)

Invisible Labor: The Women Behind the Whaling Industry. Presentation for South Country Library (March 2021).

Outreach, Education, and Public Programming: Bringing an Anthropology Degree to the Museum Classroom. Career Talk for University of Washington, Anthropology Department (March 2021)

Peconic Bay Scallops: Yesterday and Today. Presentation for South Country Library. (October 2020)

Great Grandma Barrett was a Shining Woman: Reflections on the Radium Girls and Industrial Disease. Presentation for South Country Library (July 2020)

On the Effects of Holocene El Nino Variation on Neotoma Size in Baja California. Paper presented at 13th Annual Stanley J. Olsen Memorial Zooarchaeology Conference at Eagle Lake, California (July 2016).

Podcast Appearances:

“A Light in the Undark: Erin Becker and the Radium Girls,” The Long Island History Project (March 28, 2020)

“Not Your Grandmother’s Museum: Erin Elizabeth Becker and Modern Museums,” The Long Island History Project (February 26, 2019)

Works In Progress:

Manuscript in progress, The Dark Side of Luminosity: The Legacy of the 20th Century Radium Dial Painting Industry in New Jersey Natures 

Media Coverage,112753
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
Atlantic, North America, United States
Expertise by Chronology
17th century, 18th century, 19th century, Early Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Environment, Family, Food History, Gender, Indigenous Peoples, Labor, Local & Regional, Material Culture, Museums, Public History, Technology, Urban History, Women