Debra Lindsay

Professor, Chair


History and Politics

Hazen Hall 325

Saint John
1 506 648 5759

Debra Lindsay joined UNB Saint John in 1997. Prior to joining the Department of History and Politics, she taught in the history departments at the University of Winnipeg and Simon Fraser University.

In addition to serving as departmental chair, she offers courses in a variety of fields. Responsible for courses in the history of the United States, she teaches specialized courses on Indigenous Peoples in America, on the pre-Civil War South, and on gender, and science/medicine. She was the Director of the Lorenzo Art series (2005–12) and no matter the subject, art is an integral aspect of her course content. She is one of three Saint John representatives on the bi-campus committee struck to implement the recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (2015).

Her research focuses on nineteenth century science. She began her career working on northern science, the men working for the Hudson’s Bay Company and their Indigenous counterparts in the Smithsonian scientific agenda; however recent efforts focus on the role of women, particularly one South Carolinian woman whose work in botany, ornithology, entomology, and herpetology made its way into major scientific publications. A book entitled Maria Martin’s World: Art and Science, Faith and Family in Audubon’s America is forthcoming on this research.


Science in the Subarctic: Trappers, Traders and the Smithsonian InstitutionThe Clothes Off Our Back: A History of ACTWU 459. Manitoba Labour History Series. Winnipeg: Manitoba Labour Education Centre, 1995.

Science in the Subarctic: Trappers, Traders and the Smithsonian Institution. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.

The Modern Beginnings of Subarctic Ornithology: Northern Correspondence to the Smithsonian Institution, 1856-68. Manitoba Record Society, Vol.10. Winnipeg: Manitoba Record Society, 1991.

Articles and invited talks

“Maria Martin Bachman (1796–1863): Audubon’s Assistant.” [talk for Women’s History Month] Charleston Museum, 2015.

“John James Audubon in New Brunswick.” New Brunswick Historical Society, Saint John, 2014.

Audubon’s Assistant: Maria Martin (1796–1863). Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, 2011.

“Defining the Mesozoic/Defining Disciplines: Late Nineteenth-Century Debates over the Jurassic–Cretaceous Boundary.” Earth Sciences History 30, No.2 (2011): 216–239.

Prototaxites Dawson, 1859 or Nemtophycus Carruthers, 1872: Geologists v. Botanists in the Formative Period of the Science of Paleobotany.” Earth Sciences History 24, No.1 (2005): 35-61.

“Intimate Inmates: scientific wives and households in nineteenth century America.” Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society 90, No.4 (Dec. 1998): 631-52.

Recent conference presentations

“Birds, Beasts, and Backers in British North America: The ‘American Woodsman’ goes North.” Can Soc for the History and Philosophy of Science, Calgary, 2016.

“Barrier or Blessing? Evangelical Lutheranism, Gender, and Science: Maria Martin (1796–1863) a case study.” History of Science Society, Boston, 2013.

“Contextualizing Creativity: Maria Martin, Natural History Illustrator.” Tri-Society Meeting: Hist of Science Soc; Brit Science Soc; Can Soc for the History and Philosophy of Science, Philadelphia, 2012.

“From American Woodsman to Ornithologist: How John James Audubon Became a Scientist.” Can Soc for the History and Philosophy of Science, Fredericton, 2011.

“Lester Frank Ward v. Othniel C. Marsh: Defining the Mesozoic.” History of Science Society, Montreal, 2010.