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Will Mackintosh - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Will Mackintosh Will Mackintosh

Associate Professor of History and American Studies | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Mackintosh is an expert in early American history, nineteenth century history, & the history of tourism.


Growing up in the Rust Belt, Will Mackintosh sought answers from the past in order to understand and explain the fading world around him. “My roots on the banks of the Erie Canal have profoundly shaped my professional interests, both chronologically and thematically,” said Mackintosh, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Swarthmore College and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan.

Mackintosh’s book Selling the Sights: The Invention of the Tourist in American Culture, was inspired by his high school summer job as a waiter on a dinner cruise boat touring a lake lined with Gilded-Age mansions. “It just got me really interested in the way people spent their leisure time in the nineteenth century,” he said in an interview on the With Good Reason public radio show. He is also the editor of “The Panorama: Expansive Views from The Journal of the Early Republic.”

An expert on American criminal history, Mackintosh has researched the Loomis Gang, a highly organized group of horse thieves that operated out of central New York state for much of the 1800s. “Although clearly a criminal organization, the gang used many of the pioneering organization techniques of nineteenth century big business, including dividing territory, monitoring and manipulating local markets, and investing heavily in the control of local and statewide politicians in order to influence public policy,” Mackintosh said.

At UMW, Mackintosh teaches courses on early American history, the American Revolution and Early Republic, American history to 1865, gender history, urban history, history of the book, history of capitalism, and the history of crime and punishment in the U.S.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Cultural History of Capitalism

History of Travel and Tourism

Nineteenth Century History

Early American History

Cultural and Intellectual History

History of Leisure

Accomplishments (5)

Bright Fellowship, Bright Institute at Knox College

2018 - 2021

Supplemental Faculty Development Grants, University of Mary Washington

2011 - 2016 and 2018 - 2019

Jepson Fellowship, University of Mary Washington

2015 - 2016

Summer Faculty Research Grant, University of Mary Washington


Helen and John S. Best Fellowship, American Geographical Society Library


Education (3)

University of Michigan: Ph.D., History 2009

University of Michigan: M.A., History 2004

Swarthmore College: B.A., History 2000

Affiliations (2)

  • “The Panorama,” digital supplement to The Journal of the Early Republic : Founding Editor
  • Papers of James Monroe Project Advisory Board : Member

Media Appearances (6)

Tourism Industry

WHRV 89.5; WAMU-FM Radio; With Good Reason  online


Tourism Industry

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Selling the Sights

With Good Reason, Radio IQ 88.3  online


Titled after Will Mackintosh’s book, Selling the Sights: The Invention of the Tourist in American Culture, the show chronicles the origin and evolution of the concept of tourism, explores the ways it’s used today to develop rural communities, and more.

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UMW Hosts Eighteenth Century Conference

EagleEye UMW Faculty/Staff Newsletter  online


The 47th Annual Conference of the East-Central American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies met at UMW on Oct. 27-29. Will Mackintosh served on the Program Committee.

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Mackintosh Presents at History Workshop in Wales

EagleEye UMW Faculty/Staff Newsletter  online


Will Mackintosh, assistant professor of history, recently presented new work on the nineteenth century print culture of geographical knowledge at a small workshop entitled “Travel in the Marketplace” at the University of Bangor in Bangor, Wales.

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Mackintosh Presents at Symposium on American Culture

EagleEye UMW Faculty/Staff Newsletter  online


On April 5, Will Mackintosh presented a paper entitled “Traveling Gender Identities in the Nineteenth Century” at the Graham Letters and Culture Symposium in Illinois.

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Will Mackintosh Completes Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

EagleEye UMW Faculty/Staff Newsletter  online


Will Mackintosh has just completed a residential research fellowship at the American Geographical Society Library at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where he was working with their collection of nineteenth-century American tourist guidebooks. This fellowship was part of his ongoing research project on the origins of domestic tourism in the early United States.

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Event Appearances (5)

Selling the Sights: The Invention of the Tourist in American Culture

Newport Symposium - 2019  Newport, USA

New England Travel Entrepreneurs and the Commodification of Leisure Experiences, 1820-1860

Deerfield-Wellesley Symposium - 2019  Deerfield, USA

Manitous at the Springs: Imagined Indians and Elite Tourism in the Long Nineteenth Century

American Studies Association Annual Meeting - 2018  Atlanta, USA

Painesque Publishing: How Historians Write Politics, Then and Now

Revolutionary Texts in a Digital Age: Thomas Paine’s Publishing Networks, Past and Present - 2018  New Rochelle, USA

Red Jacket Bathed Here: Inventing Native American Origins for Leisure in the Early Republic

Reading, Writing, and World-Making in Nineteenth-Century America - 2016  Ann Arbor, USA

Articles (4)

Selling the Sights: The Invention of the Tourist in American Culture

NYU Press

2019 In the early nineteenth century, thanks to a booming transportation industry, Americans began to journey away from home simply for the sake of traveling, giving rise to a new cultural phenomenon —the tourist.

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The Prehistory of the American Tourist Guidebook

Book History

2018 In 1822, a local printer in the small town of Saratoga Springs, New York, compiled and printed off a cheap, slim volume, almost a pamphlet, to which he gave the rather grand title The Fashionable Tour: or, A Trip to the Springs, Niagara, Quebeck, and Boston, in the Summer of 1821.

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Mechanical Aesthetics: Picturesque Tourism and the Transportation Revolution in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania History

2014 In the 1830s, Pennsylvania's Main Line of Public Works was at the cutting edge of the transportation revolution. Travelers embraced the speed and convenience of the line, but struggled to articulate the aesthetic experience of new forms of travel.

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"Ticketed Through": The Commodification of Travel in the Nineteenth Century

Journal of the Early Republic


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