Date of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

History, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Janet Farrell Brodie

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

JoAnna Poblete

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Joshua Goode

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Kerri Dean


Christmas, Christmas tree, culture, evergreens, holiday, labor

Subject Categories

History | United States History


Christmas trees are culturally significant symbol of Christmas and embedded within American culture. This dissertation uses the Christmas tree as an object to make historical connections to cultural, environmental, and economic changes. By connecting the meanings endowed to the Christmas tree, I argue that a new agricultural enterprise formed and transformed Christmas tree farms into a thriving twentieth-century industry. As Americans created a modern Christmas celebration, the Christmas tree became a central feature, and transformed a natural object to a valued cash crop and prompted a new industry. This dissertation tells the untold history of Christmas tree labor and provides deeper meaning of how Christmas trees became embedded in American culture and economy.



Available for download on Thursday, October 02, 2025