Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

James T. Andrews

Second Advisor

Pamela Riney-kehrberg


The history of scientific beekeeping involved many of the social and intellectual trajectories that transformed western societies between the seventeenth century and the early twentieth century. The title, Hive society: the popularization of science and beekeeping in the British Isles, 1609-1913, emphasizes the theme of science that connects each chapter. The evolving social structure of the British Isles, the expansion of print culture, and the proliferation of voluntary societies conditioned the development and popularization of scientific beekeeping. The case study contributes to histories of rural reform, the popularization of science, and the roles of voluntary associations that focused on scientific and moral improvement.

Investigation of apicultural history reveals a thriving vernacular science that included loose connections with elite scientific societies. Voluntary associations collaborated to bring scientific beekeeping to an audience that transected social classifications, though their rhetoric especially targeted cottagers. The investigation intertwines analyses of beekeeping treatises, pamphlets, periodicals, apicultural society records, and private letters. Overall, the project illustrates the contributions of multiple socioeconomic classes to the popularization of scientific beekeeping. Their diverse mentalities created a more socially-inclusive movement than appears in some accounts that are clouded by the "Darwin specter" that dominates some histories of nineteenth-century science. The dissertation also revises the idea of a popular "revolution" in nineteenth-century beekeeping technology.


Copyright Owner

Adam Wayne Ebert



Date Available


File Format


File Size

240 pages

Included in

History Commons