Marian (Molly) Leech

photo before reservoir

Ph.D. StudentRalph Shay Graduate Fellow


I am a first-year doctoral student in the department of history.

I study American Indian and early colonial Northeastern American history with a particular interest in the mid-Atlantic region and what the Dutch called "New Netherland" in the seventeenth century. Following transatlantic and transbaltic ties, I also study globalization and exchange in early modern Europe (Dutch Republic, late sixteenth-seventeenth centuries). 

My research examines Indian histories of today's New Jersey (trail networks, settlement patterns, placenames, oral histories), the seventeenth-century fur and wampum trades, and contemporaneous merchant networks, industry, and fashion in early modern Europe (beaver fur hats). 

With a focus on postcolonial theory, spatial history, and material culture, I am interested in the durability of these entangled histories, and the ways in which they rendered legible or invisible today.

In the past, my research has been supported by the Charles W. Wendell Grant from the New Netherland Institute (2020), The New-York Historical Society of Daughters of Holland Dames Short-Term Fellowship from the New-York Historical Society (2018), and the Sean Bratton Memorial Fund from the Archaeological Society of New Jersey (2018). I have collaborated with researchers at the Rijskmuseum (Amsterdam) and the Research Center for Material Culture of the National Museum of World Cultures (Leiden). 

AdvisorsDaniel K. RichterJared Farmer




MA, with distinction, Department of Archaeology. Leiden University, Netherlands. 2019.

BA with honors, Department of Anthropology & Sociology. Lafayette College, Easton, PA. 2017.



Research Interests

Historical ethnography, art history, spatial and environmental history, temporalities of landscape, heritage and memory, colonial cultures, colonial disorders, decolonizing methodologies, museum collections and collections research.