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Timothy Alborn
Position: Professor
Campus Affiliation: Graduate Center|Lehman College
Phone: 212-817-8455
Room Number: 5102
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. Harvard University, 1991, History of Science
Research Interests: British History, History of Business, History of Science

Selected Publications


All that Glittered: Britain's Most Precious Metal from Adam Smith to the Gold RushOxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.



Regulated Lives: Life Assurance and British Society, 1840-1920. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009.

Conceiving Companies: Joint-Stock Politics in Victorian England. London: Routledge, 1998.

“The Greatest Metaphor Ever Mixed: Gold in the British Bible, 1750-1850.” Journal of the History of Ideas 78 (2017): 427-447.
 “King Solomon’s Gold: Ophir in an Age of Empire.” Journal of Victorian Culture 20 (2015): 491-508.

"An Irish El Dorado: Recovering Gold in County Wicklow," Journal of British Studies 50 (2011): 359-380
"Normal Bodies, Normal Prices: Interdisciplinarity in Victorian Life Insurance," Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net no. 49 (February 2008). Accessible at
"Dirty Laundry: Exposing Bad Behavior in Life Insurance Trials, 1830-1890." In Margot Finn, Michael Lobban, and Jenny Bourne Taylor, eds., Spurious Issues: Legitimacy in Law, Literature, and History, 1680-1900 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 148-172.
"Economics and Business." In Francis O'Gorman, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 61-79.
"Quill-driving: British Life-Insurance Clerks and Occupational Mobility, 1800 -1914," Business History Review 82 (2008): 31-58.
"The First Fund Managers: Life Insurance Bonuses in Victorian Britain," Victorian Studies 45 (2002): 67-92.
"Senses of Belonging: The Politics of Working-Class Insurance in Britain, 1880-1914," Journal of Modern History 73 (2001): 561-602
"Insurance against Germ Theory: Commerce and Conservatism in Late-Victorian Medicine," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75 (2001): 406-445.
"Age and Empire in the Indian Census," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 30 (1999): 61-89.
"Coin and Country: Visions of Civilisation in the British Recoinage Debate, 1867-1894," Journal of Victorian Culture 3 (1998): 252-281.
"The Business of Induction: Industry and Genius in the Language of British Scientific Reform, 1820-1840," History of Science 34 (1996): 191-221.
"The Moral of the Failed Bank: Professional Plots in the Victorian Money Market," Victorian Studies 38 (1995): 199-225.
"Economic Man, Economic Machine: Images of Circulation in the Victorian Money Market," in Philip Mirowski, ed., Natural Images in Economics: Markets Read in Tooth and Claw (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 173-196.
Works in Progress:
Before the Gold Rush: Britain's Most Precious Metal, 1750-1850. Book manuscript on the cultural and monetary history of gold in Great Britain during the century before the gold rushes of 1849-52.