In one of her favorite projects so far, Eryn Boyce ’13 burrowed into the history of Blow-Me-Down Farm, which is part of Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. Her job is a history lover’s dream: She’s a historian and architectural historian.
Saint-Gaudens is the former home, studios, and gardens of the prominent sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, in Cornish, N.H. The farm owner was a wealthy lawyer, Charles Cotesworth Beaman, who was instrumental in bringing Saint-Gaudens to Cornish; Boyce reached back into the 18th century to unearth the property’s history.
“It was cool to put it all together because it was kind of like following the breadcrumbs or being a detective. I really like deed research. It’s my favorite part of the job, even though it can be frustrating,” says Boyce, who works for a cultural resource management consulting firm.
As a history major at Hamilton Boyce discovered her future career with help from Professor of History Robert Paquette and Christian Goodwillie, director and curator of special collections and archives. Her junior year, Boyce says, Paquette sat her down to ask what she wanted to do with her history degree. She told him she’d really enjoyed her internships working in museums. “And he said OK — historic preservation,” recalls Boyce, who had never heard the term before.
Paquette introduced her to Goodwillie, who filled her on the subject. Shortly after Boyce graduated from Hamilton, she entered the University of Pennsylvania’s historic preservation program to earn a master’s degree.
“A lot of people think that history can be boring and dry and don’t really know that there’s such a wide variety of things that you can do with it. And I just found that I get to learn something every day at my job,” she says. “I get to learn about the people that you don’t read about in the history books typically. And get to know their lives and get to at least give them a little bit of attention in the reports that I write.”