JAIC 2004, Volume 43, Number 3, Article 2 (pp. 227 to 236)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 2004, Volume 43, Number 3, Article 2 (pp. 227 to 236)



ABSTRACT—A wide range of academic, commercial, and private investigators are seeking access to historical human biological materials from cultural collections and historical sites for biomolecular research. Bioanalysis of historical bone, hair, blood-stained artifacts, and other trace evidence has raised profound historical, scientific, and social questions. Professional guidelines, state laws, and federal regulations vary in their applicability to these debates, and custodians of cultural collections face considerable difficulties when evaluating requests for bioanalysis of their holdings. The Chicago Historical Society (CHS) and the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology (ISLAT) at the Illinois Institute of Technology have initiated a multiyear project to develop ethical guidelines for biohistorical research. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project is intended to generate an interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue among museum professionals, academic specialists, and legal experts. An evaluation of historical, scientific, and social concerns raised by recent studies has generated preliminary suggestions for evaluating biohistorical research proposals; ethical guidelines will be published at a later date. CHS and ISLAT are soliciting case studies as well as commentary as they develop the guidelines.

TITRE—Tissus conjonctifs: normes d�ontologiques pour la recherche biohistorique. R�SUM�— Plusieurs groupes de chercheurs du domaine priv�, acad�mique et industriel demandent acc�s � des mat�riaux biologiques humains de nature historique provenant de collections culturelles et de sites historiques pour la recherche biomol�culaire. La bioanalyse d'anciens ossements, cheveux, art�facts tach�s de sang et autres �vidences pr�sentes � l'�tat de trace soul�ve de s�rieuses questions au niveau historique, scientifique et social. Les normes professionnelles, les lois des �tats et les r�glements f�d�raux varient dans leur application � ces d�bats et les responsables de collections culturelles font face � de s�rieuses difficult�s lors de l'�valuation de demandes pour la bioanalyse de leurs collections. La Chicago Historical Society (Soci�t� d'histoire de Chicago ou CHS) et l' Institute for Science, Law, and Technology (Institut pour la science, la loi et la technologie ou ISLAT) � l'Institut de technologie de l'Illinois ont entrepris un projet �chelonn� sur plusieurs ann�es afin de d�velopper des normes d�ontologiques pour la recherche biohistorique. Subventionn� par la National Science Foundation (Fondation nationale pour la science), ce projet a pour but de d�velopper un dialogue interdisciplinaire et interculturel entre les professionnels des mus�es, les sp�cialistes acad�miques et les experts l�gaux. Une �valuation des pr�occupations historiques, scientifiques et sociales soulev�es par de r�centes �tudes a g�n�r� quelques suggestions pr�liminaires pour l'�valuation des demandes de recherche biohistorique. Des normes d�ontologiques seront publi�es ult�rieurement. Les deux organisations ci-haut mentionn�es sont aussi � la recherche d'�tudes de cas et de commentaires alors qu'elles travaillent au d�veloppement de ces normes.

TITULO—Tejido Conectivo: Normas �ticas para la investigaci�n biohist�rica. RESUMEN—Un amplio espectro de investigadores acad�micos, comerciales y privados buscan acceso a materiales hist�ricos biol�gicos humanos pertenecientes a colecciones culturales y sitios hist�ricos para investigaci�n biomolecular. El bioan�lisis de hueso, cabello, artefactos manchados con sangre hist�ricos y otras trazas de evidencia ha hecho surgir profundas preguntas hist�ricas, cient�ficas y sociales. Las normas profesionales, leyes estatales y reglamentos federales var�an en su aplicabilidad a estos debates y los custodios de colecciones culturales se enfrentan a dificultades considerables al evaluar las solicitudes para bioan�lisis de sus colecciones. La Chicago Historical Society (Sociedad Hist�rica de Chicago, CHS) y el Institute for Science, Law, and Technology (Instituto para la Ciencia, Legislaci�n y Tecnolog�a, ISLAT) en el Illinois Institute of Technology (Instituto de Tecnolog�a de Illinois) han iniciado un proyecto de varios a�os para desarrollar normas �ticas para la investigaci�n biohist�rica. El proyecto, patrocinado por la National Science Foundation(Fundaci�n Nacional para la Ciencia) se propone generar un di�logo interdisciplinario e intercultural entre profesionales de museos, especialistas acad�micos y expertos legales. Una evaluaci�n de las inquietudes hist�ricas, cient�ficas y sociales presentadas en estudios recientes ha generado sugerencias preliminares para la evaluaci�n de propuestas de investigaci�n biohist�rica; las normas �ticas ser�n publicadas posteriormente. El CHS y el ISLAT solicitan estudios de casos as� como comentarios durante el proceso de desarrollo de las normas.

T�TULO—Tecidos conjuntivos: diretrizes �ticas para pesquisa bio-hist�rica. RESUMO—Uma gama imensa de pesquisadores acad�micos, p�blicos e privados est� bucando acesso a hist�ricos materiais humanos biol�gicos em cole��es culturais e em locais hist�ricos para pesquisa bio-molecular. Bio-an�lise de osso, cabelo, artefatos manchados de sangue e, outras evid�ncias hist�ricas t�m levantado profundos questionamentos hist�ricos, cient�ficos e sociais. Diretrizes profissionais, leis estaduais, e regulamenta��es federais, variam em sua aplicabilidade quanto a estes debates, e os guardadores de cole��es culturais enfrentam dificuldades consider�veis ao avaliar pedidos para bio-an�lise de suas cole��es. A Chicago Historical Society (CHS) (Sociedade Hist�rica de Chicago) e o Institute for Science, Law, and Technology (ISLAT) (Instituto para a Ci�ncia, Lei, e Tecnologia) do Instituto de Tecnologia de Illinois, iniciaram um projeto plurianual para o desenvolvimento de diretrizes �ticas para pesquisas bio-hist�ricas. Patrocinado pela National Science Foundation (Funda��o Nacional de Ci�ncia), o projeto tem a inten��o de gerar um di�logo interdisciplinar e intercultural entre profissionais de museus, especialistas acad�micos e peritos legais. Uma avalia��o das preocupa��es hist�ricas, cient�ficas e sociais baseadas em estudos recentes gerou sugest�es preliminares de avalia��o para propostas de pesquisas bio-hist�ricas; diretrizes �ticas ser�o publicadas posteriormente. CHS e ISLAT est�o solicitando estudos de caso e coment�rios, enquanto desenvolvem as diretrizes.


Biomolecular technologies offer new frontiers for interdisciplinary research with historical human biological artifacts. Academic, commercial, and private investigators are seeking access to bone fragments, locks of hair, preserved organs, and blood-stained garments from historical collections and sites for biomolecular research (fig. 1). Does biomolecular analysis yield meaningful evidence for historians?

Fig. 1. Bloodstained sheet attributed to Abraham Lincoln's deathbed, accession number 1920.253. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society
What safeguards are necessary to protect living descendants as well as human remains and cultural artifacts?

The rapid development of biotechnologies in the 1990s, particularly DNA analysis, was accompanied by a wave of highly publicized investigations of historical human biological tissues or traces, also known as biohistorical research. Biohistorical investigators have included a range of specialists in anthropology, forensics, genetics, and molecular biology as well as documentary film companies, commercial DNA marketers, private collectors, armchair historians, and individuals seeking information on their family or cultural heritage; academic historians have been notably absent in these endeavors. Researchers have increasingly sought access to nonindigenous biological samples from historical collections and sites in the wake of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and improvements in ancient DNA (aDNA) analytical techniques.

Biohistorical research proposals have generated historical, scientific, and social concerns, including the justification for the proposed research, appropriateness of the study design, destruction of fragile museum specimens, the relevance of informed consent, potential harm to living relatives, cultural respect for the dead, confidentiality of medical and genetic information, and the interpretation of study results. The ambiguous legal status of human remains contributes to these debates. Human subject protections are codified for federally funded research with the living but do not apply to the dead. State protections vary but have progressively allowed tissue retention and analysis as the research value of cadaver tissue increases (Nelkin and Andrews 1998). Although NAGPRA strengthened federal protections for indigenous skeletal remains, forensic anthropologists have launched legal and research initiatives challenging the statute (Bonnichsen 1997, 2002, 2004; Jantz and Owsley 2001).

Custodians of cultural collections and sites face considerable difficulties when evaluating research requests involving their historical human biological holdings. Codes of ethics and practice are splintered among professional specialties and do not adequately address biological tissue analysis. Caretakers of cultural collections typically lack the specialist knowledge necessary for evaluating genetic research proposals. The politicization of research with the dead, funding offered by commercial companies, and the lure of biotechnology publicity further complicate the decision-making process.

The Chicago Historical Society (CHS) and the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology (ISLAT) at the Illinois Institute of Technology have initiated a multiyear project to develop ethical guidelines for biohistorical research with funding from the National Science Foundation. The project is an outgrowth of requests for access to historical human biological materials at CHS as well as ISLAT's interest in promoting discussion of critical issues at the intersection of law and technology. While primarily focusing on the implications of bioanalysis for historical as opposed to anthropological research, the CHS-ISLAT collaboration is encouraging an interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue to consider common concerns. Genetic analysis is a central consideration because of its implications for living descendants as well as the preservation of cultural materials. An evaluation of historical, scientific, and social concerns raised by recent studies has generated preliminary suggestions for evaluating biohistorical research proposals. CHS and ISLAT are soliciting case studies as well as commentary on the project to promote a national dialogue on biohistorical research.


The Chicago Historical Society houses one of the largest historical collections in the United States. Biological holdings include the most comprehensive collection of artifacts associated with Abraham Lincoln's assassination, the remains of one of Chicago's earliest homicide victims, hair attributed to various historical figures, and cultural artifacts stained with body fluids. Requests for bioanalysis of CHS's Lincoln relics exemplify biohistorical quests that typically involve the authentication of historical remains and artifacts, the resolution of speculative medical history or paternity disputes, or the commercial potential of genetic analysis.

Many of CHS's Lincoln assassination relics were originally purchased by Charles Gunther, a Chicago confectioner and politician, for his popular Libby Prison Civil War Museum in the 1890s. Typical of early American museum collectors, he gathered a hodgepodge of relics, both genuine and sham (fig. 2). A CHS museum administrator initially suggested genetic analysis of stains on a cloak allegedly worn by Mary Lincoln on the night of the assassination to determine its authenticity. The society hosted a 1999 conference of historians, scientists, and conservators who concluded that DNA research was inappropriate, as currently available DNA extraction techniques would damage the artifact and there was no established Lincoln genetic profile for comparative analysis. CHS found itself at the center of massive international media coverage following the conference. “Keeping Facts Cloaked Is Lousy Reasoning” screamed one headline, while a support group for Marfan syndrome patients published an irate letter on the Internet: “I thought that a ‘historical’ society wanted to ferret out truth. Where is that line in the sand drawn—what we ignorant heathens are permitted to learn about historical figures and what is off limits to us? And who draws that line—the Chicago Historical Society?” (Cortese 1999; Rockford [Ill.] Register Star 1999).

Fig. 2. Charles Gunther collected authenticated Lincoln artifacts as well as this “Skin of the Serpent Who Tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden,” accession number 1920. 1714. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society

CHS declined a number of biohistorical research proposals from outside investigators hoping to analyze the stains on the cloak associated with Mary Lincoln. BBC Television offered to underwrite DNA analysis of the cloak in exchange for information on whether President Lincoln suffered from Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, for a Discovery Channel documentary (Chicot 2000). StarGene Inc., the brainchild of Nobel Prize laureate and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) patent holder Kary Mullis, made a similar proposition in exchange for the right to replicate any genetic material found on the garment. StarGene embeds the “‘genetic essence’ of the stars” in GeneStones, “a gemlike resin, that will encapsulate and visually preserve” DNA, for a line of jewelry products and collectibles (StarGene 1996). Self-identified Lincoln relatives volunteered blood samples in exchange for confirmation of their patrimony; one gentleman even offered to exhume his grandmother to facilitate a genetic analysis. Other descendants supported the request of a retired college administrator with an education degree who hoped to conduct Y-chromosome analysis to investigate Lincoln's paternity (Hyatt 2003).

Biohistorical investigations sometimes appear to be more closely associated with political agendas than significant historical inquiries. Bioethicist Glen Davidson has questioned the timing of a high-profile 1989 request for genetic analysis of bone fragments linked to Abraham Lincoln's assassination at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM). Investigators associated with the Human Genome Project, at a time when Congress was in the process of authorizing funds for the project, hoped to determine if the president had a genetic predisposition to Marfan syndrome. A panel of experts convened by NMHM initially approved the request, although they agreed that Lincoln's medical history was not a major historical question and there was no substantive medical evidence that he had suffered from Marfan syndrome (Davidson 1996). Geneticist and attorney Philip Reilly has suggested that the Department of Defense ultimately squelched plans for the analysis because of public concern over potential privacy violations in connection with its DNA bank for military personnel (Reilly 2000).

The articulation of meaningful questions lies at the heart of all historical research. Historians are most interested in analyses that illuminate broad cultural, economic, political, or social trends. The authenticity of an individual artifact such as CHS's cloak would not significantly contribute to a reevaluation of President Lincoln's assassination or the social impact of this event. Speculation over a single individual's health status and the potential behavioral consequences of drugs or disease generally lacks historical significance. Substantive historical queries should reflect an extensive knowledge of related scholarship and a critical examination of multiple sources of evidence, including an assessment of their reliability. Bioinvestigators frequently assume the authenticity of museum specimens, although historical artifacts rarely have the detailed provenance associated with more commercially valuable fine art works. The interpretation of historical figures or events from a single source of physical evidence smacks of biological determinism. More readily available textual and oral sources, which may be sufficient to answer the historical question, are frequently ignored.


The significance of historical questions must be carefully weighed against the obligation to conserve cultural materials and the complexities of biological research, particularly destructive sampling for genetic analysis. Minimally invasive visual or microscopic examinations that could provide sufficient historical evidence are often overlooked in favor of “cutting-edge” technologies. An interdisciplinary team should design protocols for biohistorical testing and consider whether the proposed analysis can accurately answer the historical question.

Researchers should be familiar with the unique properties of aged biological samples and fragile cultural artifacts. Bioarchaeological methodologies for extracting and analyzing ancient human DNA are destructive, and biological traces pose special challenges. Techniques for extraction and analysis of aDNA from stains on historically important textiles such as CHS's cloak have not yet been experimentally substantiated (Gaensslen 1999). Enough DNA must be extracted to permit multiple independent amplifications as well as external replication to confirm the presence of aDNA. Additional sample material should be reserved for future testing or the application of new techniques not available at the time of an initial study (Kaestle and Horsburgh 2002). The presence of blood on fragile cultural artifacts should be confirmed prior to destructive sampling. A suitable microscale Takayama crystalline test has not yet been developed for aged textile bloodstains (Gaensslen 1999).

Contamination from modern DNA remains a significant problem for aDNA analysis. Despite general agreement on standard protocols to prevent and detect contamination, aDNA researchers regularly experience failure rates of over 50% due to contamination problems. The cloak associated with Mary Lincoln has been extensively handled by museum staff and even worn by a society member in the 1930s (fig. 3); each has left contaminating DNA deposits on presumed bloodstains. Standard procedures developed for decontamination of aDNA samples from bone, including surface removal with sandpaper, soaking in bleach, or UV irradiation, can be inappropriate for other materials. A biohistorical investigator who requested permission to conduct Y-chromosome analysis of CHS's Lincoln relics included a testing proposal from a private laboratory that provides modern DNA analytical services for genealogists. Laboratories performing aDNA analyses must be physically separated from modern DNA facilities and dedicated solely to human aDNA extraction and analysis to avoid contamination (Kaestle and Horsburgh 2002).


The social implications of biohistorical research encompass cultural, ethical, and legal considerations.

The social concerns of living family members have not received adequate attention in recent bioanalytical studies of historical celebrities (fig. 4). Biohistorical investigations of Native Americans and African Americans have generated national debates concerning cultural affiliation and consent. The potential negative consequences of biohistorical knowledge production as well as the proprietary or commercial interests of investigators should be identified.

Research with the living is subject to institutional and federal human subject regulations for informed consent and confidentiality, but amateur biohistorical investigators can circumvent these requirements. Biohistory often involves an identifiable subject, and genetic analysis of tissue can reveal information about the paternity, health status, and predispositions of family members (Nelkin and Andrews 1998; Andrews et al. 2004). Retired pathologist Eugene Foster did not publish consent and confidentiality provisions in conjunction with his 1998 comparative Y-chromosomal study of the descendants of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, although he published his subjects' genetic sequences. The private lives of the Jefferson and Hemings families were disrupted by the intense media coverage generated by Foster's study, which improperly discredited some African American descendants' long-standing belief that they were related to Thomas Jefferson. The results of the genetic analysis were inconclusive. Studying male-line descendants of two Hemings children and Jefferson's paternal uncle, researchers determined that Hemings's youngest child, Eston, shared a common haplotype with the Jefferson descendants, but no match was found for descendants of Hemings's eldest son, Thomas Woodson. Foster concluded that “the molecular findings fail to support the belief that Thomas Jefferson was Thomas Woodson's father, but provide evidence that he was the biological father of Eston Hemings Jefferson.” Illegitimacy among the descendants of Thomas Woodson could readily account for the variation in haplotypes. Other Jefferson relatives could have fathered Eston, including a slave offspring of a Jefferson relative. Lacking substantive historical evidence, the study protocol was inappropriate for determining the paternity of Hemings's children—the only supportable conclusion was that some Jefferson and Hemings male-line descendants had common relatives (Foster et al. 1998; Davis 1999; Andrews and Nelkin 2001).

Fig. 3. Chicago Historical Society member modeling the cloak attributed to Mary Lincoln, ca. 1930, accession number 1920.976. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society

Princeton Hospital pathologist Thomas Harvey has been criticized for failing to obtain consent for his studies of scientist Albert Einstein's brain, published in the 1990s. Harvey removed Einstein's brain during his 1955 autopsy, divided it, and distributed samples to several colleagues, although Einstein had expressly rejected the use of his body for scientific research and his family assumed that his entire body had been cremated. Unauthorized use of body tissues can also violate religious beliefs. Orthodox Jews believe that the body must be buried whole;rabbis requested Einstein's brain for burial so that the scientist could rest in peace (Anderson and Harvey 1996; Nelkin and Andrews 1998; Witelson et al. 1999). Other individuals may object to the patenting of body tissues or their use by for-profit enterprises such as StarGene or documentary filmmaking companies.

Anthropologists have grappled with the problem of obtaining consent for research with the dead, which is exempt from human subject regulations. Some form of proxy consent for the deceased is recommended, typically from culturally affiliated living descendants. Identifying appropriate individuals or groups who can provide proxy consent is difficult at best. Most discussions of consent for research with the dead have considered indigenous peoples. Protections developed for these populations are difficult to apply to less cohesive communities, especially when they lack recognized political authorities (Kaestle and Horsburgh 2002). The results of genetic studies may have implications for group members even if they did not participate in the research.

The debates surrounding biohistorical analysis of “Kennewick Man” and excavated remains from New York's African Burial Ground highlight the continuing potency of human remains as symbols of cultural integrity and colonial oppression. When Native Americans opposed the investigation of a skeleton excavated near Kennewick, Washington, a group of scientists argued that its measurements were inconsistent with previously documented local historical indigenous remains. In an ongoing legal dispute, Smithsonian Institution anthropologists have implied that cranial dimensions should trump notions of cultural affiliation (Bonnichsen 1997, 2002, 2004).

The excavation of New York City's colonial African Burial Ground became a microcosm of African American concerns regarding racism and economic exploitation. Members of the black community objected to white researchers' analysis of bones from the burial ground, anticipating interpretations that would reflect white social stereotypes, and they eventually gained some control of the project (Harrington 1993). While Native American communities are often opposed to scientific analysis of human remains on religious grounds, many African Americans have expressed considerable interest in biohistorical research to obtain additional information about their ancestry. The mixed genealogical heritage of many cultural communities, particularly those of colonial-era Native American and African American slaves, complicates notions of cultural consent and control of biohistorical investigations.

Fig. 4. Although there are no living direct descendants of Abraham Lincoln, an analysis of his DNA could reveal the medical history of related family members. Artist unknown, President Lincoln and Family Circle, 1865, lithograph published by John Smith. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society


CHS-ISLAT investigators have drafted a preliminary set of questions to facilitate the evaluation of biohistorical research proposals; ethical guidelines will be published at a later date. The questions were developed following a review of published biohistorical studies and human subject regulations, consultation with a range of specialists, and analysis of codes of ethics and practice for a selected group of professional associations.


  • Who will assume primary responsibility for evaluating the proposed investigation?
  • Has an appropriate interdisciplinary and/or intercultural team of consultants been assembled for planning and implementing the project as well as interpreting and disseminating project results?
  • Has adequate consideration been given to the historical, scientific, and social implications of the proposed investigation?
  • Have potential conflicts of interest been identified?
  • What federal, state, or local laws are applicable?
  • What provisions have been made for the responsible stewardship of cultural artifacts that will be sampled for the investigation?
  • Who has “ownership” of or rights to the intellectual property generated?


  • Have the investigators critically engaged previous historical scholarship and existing evidence?
  • What are the investigators' motivations for the proposed research?
  • Can the historical question be answered with nonbiological evidence?
  • Is the provenance of proposed biological samples reliable?
  • Does the significance of the historical question justify destructive sampling or analysis of cultural artifacts?


  • Can the proposed methodologies answer the historical question?
  • Have nondestructive methodologies been adequately considered?
  • Do the investigators have previous experience and a reasonable success rate with the proposed materials and methodologies?
  • Is the laboratory facility appropriate for the proposed investigation?
  • If genetic testing has been proposed:
  • Have preliminary tests confirming the nature of suspected biological traces been performed?
  • Does the condition of biological materials suggest that aDNA is more likely to be present than not?
  • Have the proposed sampling and testing techniques been validated on similar aged and fragile materials?
  • What are the likely sources of contamination, and can they be controlled by standard protocols?
  • Is an authenticated DNA reference sample available for comparative analysis?
  • Is the laboratory facility solely dedicated to human aDNA analysis?


  • Who are the stakeholders in the proposed investigation, and have the investigators demonstrated a commitment to initiating and maintaining a dialogue with them?
  • What are the potential negative consequences of biohistorical knowledge production for human subjects as well as their relatives and communities?
  • Are appropriate safeguards in place to protect human subjects as well as their relatives and communities?
  • Provisions for informed consent and confidentiality should consider:
  • Who will be asked to provide consent and why?
  • What provisions have been made for securing identifying information?
  • Who will have access to test results and control of acquired data?
  • How and where will samples be stored and for how long?
  • What provisions have been made for used vials, leftover samples, or destruction of test materials?


Despite the problematic nature of biohistorical investigations completed to date, historians should not dismiss the potential of laboratory analysis to yield significant evidence. Historians and scientists have rarely undertaken collaborative research projects, which offer the potential for unusual analytical perspectives as well as new evidentiary sources. Comprehensive research methodologies as well as an interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue on the implications of biohistorical investigations are sorely needed. Greater consideration should be given to basic techniques, such as detailed visual and micro-scopical examination, that can yield evidence far richer and more useful than genetic analysis. Historical biological tissues and traces should be preserved for the future development of less invasive and more accurate sampling and analytical techniques.

CHS and ISLAT welcome case studies and comments as they develop ethical guidelines for biohistorical investigations; the author's contact information follows below. Draft guidelines will be posted on CHS's website (www.chicagohistory.org) and distributed to professional associations for commentary in 2004 to promote a national dialogue on the implications of biohistorical research.


This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant no. 0134850. The author gratefully acknowledges project team members Lori Andrews (director, ISLAT; distinguished professor of law and associate vice president, Chicago-Kent College of Law), Jennifer Bridge (Ph.D. program, History Department, Loyola University–Chicago), Robert Gaensslen (professor and director of forensic science, University of Illinois at Chicago), Theodore Karamanski (professor of history, Loyola University–Chicago), Russell Lewis (Andrew W. Mellon director for collections and research, Chicago Historical Society), Laurie Rosenow (senior fellow and attorney, ISLAT), and David Stoney (director, McCrone Research Institute).


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NANCY BUENGER completed her postgraduate diploma in textile conservation at the Courtauld Institute, University of London, and graduate internships at the Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, and the Field Museum of Natural History. Currently, she is finishing her Ph.D. in American history at the University of Chicago and is a historical consultant at the Chicago Historical Society, where she was a staff conservator from 1992 to 2001. She is co-principal investigator of the ISLAT-CHS grant project to develop ethical guidelines for biohistorical research. Address: Collections and Research Division, Chicago Historical Society, Clark St. at North Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60614; buenger@uchicago.edu

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