On April 10, David Spanagel served as the invited commenter to present his scholarly assessment of the pre-circulated research paper “Frederic Tudor’s Slippery Speculation” (written by Boston University history professor Andrew Robichaud) at a meeting of the Environmental History Seminar sponsored by the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. The central focus of the paper had to do with the curious career of early an 19th century entrepreneur who tried to turn blocks of New England pond ice into a global trade commodity.
David's analysis of this professional colleague's research highlighted and explored possible avenues of further investigation. For example, David challenged the audience to ponder this question: How did the history of Tudor's efforts to harvest ice for transport and profit compare to contemporaneous legal struggles that occurred when another "commons" substance (free-flowing water in New England streams, i.e. something initially publicly available to all) was systematically privatized by the corporate manufacturing interests who built thousands of dams for power and/or navigation control?