Bio: Rachel A. Snell


Rachel A. Snell, Ph.D.

Education: BA History & Honors, University of Maine (2006), MA in Early American History, University of New Hampshire (2008), PhD in U.S. History, University of Maine (2016)

Dr. Snell and her family outside their northern Virginia home. Image by Lesnick Photo –

Rachel Snell is a food historian and a Virginia housewife. She holds degrees in history from the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire. She previously held academic positions at the University of Maine teaching history, women’s and gender studies, and in the Honors College. Although a New Englander through and through, she moved to Northern Virginia in January 2020 to support her partner’s job opportunity. Since relocating to Virginia, her primary focus has been her home and family.

Dr. Snell leads a cooking demonstration/lecture at the Wilson Museum in Castine, Maine.

Dr. Snell is a specialist in nineteenth-century North American history, women’s history, and food studies. In her research, she argues that food and food writing present a richly rewarding lens for understanding the experiences of ordinary women. Her work argues, cooking and eating are mundane tasks few pause to critically consider, but for people of most times, places, ethnicities, and races, these tasks form the foundation of their identities. A monograph focused on her research, Recipes, Cookbooks, and the Negotiation of Domesticity in Anglo-America, 1830-1880, is currently under contract with Lexington Books. Learn more about her teaching and research here.

Most Recent Past Experiences

Researcher and Advisor, Margaret Chase Smith Recipes Research Collaborative
(2018 – 2019)
Add more information about what you Advise undergraduate student research related to Sen. Smith and the recipe collection, conduct research on Sen. Smith and the recipe collection, present research and mentor student presentations, apply for and manage funding for the collaborative from college departments, the university and outside grants, supervise social media presence for the collaborative. Work with a team of faculty and students to develop goals and agenda for the collaborative.

Lecturer and Faculty Coordinator, Honors College, University of Maine
(2018 – 2019)
Add more information about what you Teach first-year Honors courses and upper-level courses on academic specialty and research, advise students, and serve on College committees.

Work with the staff coordinator to plan, organize, and manage lectures for the HON 111 and 112 cohorts, planned a series of faculty development workshops focused on aspects of teaching in Honors, including best practices for teaching writing, guidance on integrating material culture into class discussion with a tour of the Hudson Museum, and active learning strategies for Honors teaching; create and maintain Team Drives to allow faculty to more efficiently share resources and teaching techniques, and lead efforts to bring a diversity of voices into the curriculum by advocating for an anthology of indigenous North American writing and organizing a panel to explore reintegration narratives in The Odyssey and the experiences of present-day veterans.

Curator of Collections and Managing Editor, Mount Desert Island Historical Society
(2017 – 2018)
Managed Society’s physical and digital collections, assisted in creation of exhibits, and maintained accessibility of online materials. Supported the development of the History Trust, a collaborative effort among MDIHS’s collecting organizations to preserve, digitize, and engage the community in the region’s collective archives. Co-Managing Editor for the 2018 edition of Chebacco, MDIHS’s annual publication, exploring local history through material culture studies. The 2018 edition was recognized with The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Leadership in History Award in 2019.

Full CV available here.