Patrick Brown HeadshotJ. Ritchie Garrison '74 graduated from Bates College in 1973. He then entered the Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York, College of Oneonta, class of 1974, focusing on History Museum Studies. He completed his graduate education at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in American Civilization.

Garrison began his professional career in 1976 as Director of Education at Historic Deerfield, Inc., teaching in the Historic Deerfield Summer Fellowship Program, and courses at Smith College. In 1985, he became an Assistant Professor of History, Department of History, and Assistant Director of the Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware. In 2004, he was appointed the Director of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, a co-sponsored program with the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library and the University of Delaware. He retired as a Professor of History from the University in 2020, having taught hundreds of graduate students, many of them now in the fields of museums, historic preservation, teaching, antiques and Americana, and publishing.

Among his scholarly accomplishments, he has lectured widely and published numerous articles, chapters, reviews and monographs, including Landscape and Material Life in Franklin County, Massachusetts, 1770-1860, and Two Carpenters: Architecture and Building in Early New England, 1779-1859. The latter book won the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize for the Best Book in North American Vernacular Architecture in 2007, and the 2007 Historic New England Book Prize.

Garrison was elected to membership in the American Antiquarian Society, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Presently, he serves on the Board of Trustees for Historic Deerfield, Inc. His many interests include work with a variety of artistic media especially those used in drawing and painting, bookbinding, cabinetmaking, finish carpentry, historic craft, and photography.

He is married to his wife of 48 years, Carla Johnson Garrison, and has 3 children and two grandchildren. He lives in Newark, Delaware, and owns an 1848 summer home in Plymouth, Massachusetts.