Marian (Molly) Leech

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 these threads across the Atlantic, I also study globalization and exchange in early modern Europe (Dutch Republic, late 16th-17th centuries). 

I am interested in how the precarious, extractive economies and collisions of early colonial America shaped economic and consumer culture in the Dutch Republic and beyond. Specifically, my research examines "deep-time" Indigenous histories of today's New Jersey (especially trail networks, human geographies, place names), 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 historiography, spatial and environmental history, and conversations around the foundations of capitalism, the Anthropocene, and colonial temporalities, I am interested in the durability of these entangled transatlantic histories, and the ways in which they are 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 Sean Bratton Memorial Fund from the Archaeological Society of New Jersey (2018), and The New-York Historical Society Daughters of Holland Dames Short-Term Fellowship (2018).

AdvisorsJared FarmerDaniel K. Richter




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

BA with honors in Anthropology, Lafayette College, Easton, PA, 2017.



Research Interests

American Indian history, early colonial America, early modern Europe, Atlantic Worlds, globalization, exchange, spatial history, environmental history, historical archaeology, museum collections and collections research, settler colonialism, colonial temporalities, (post)colonial disorders.