Dona Brown came to UVM in 1994. She earned her Ph. D. at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and worked for several years at the University of New Hampshire before coming to Vermont. Her first book, Inventing New England: Regional Tourism in the Nineteenth Century (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), explored the significance of the tourist trade in creating an enduring landscape and cultural image of New England. She has published a number of articles on the history of tourism and regionalism in journals and collections, and is the editor of a collection of nineteenth-century tourist stories (A Tourist's New England: Travel Fiction, 1820-1920). Perhaps because she grew up in Texas, she has a continuing interest in regionalism as a cultural force. She was director of the Center for Research on Vermont from 2003-2005, and regularly teaches courses in American cultural history and regionalism, New England history, and Vermont history.
Her second book, however, took a different historical direction: it explores the history of American back-to-the-land movements over the course of the twentieth century, incorporating tales of all kinds of back-to-the-land projects across the country from California to New Jersey (and up to Vermont). She is not quite a back-to-the-lander herself, but in the years since that book was published, her attention has turned increasingly to historical questions about farming and rural life. Her latest book project explores those new interests from an altogether different angle. Using the story of a single small hill town in Vermont in the 1930s, Hill Farms will be a multi-layered study of the environmental, agricultural, and social history of that place and time.