MMA Deputy Director and Curator of the Mitchell House, Archives, and Special Collections
Jascin Leonardo Finger has worked for the MMA since the late 1980s, becoming Curator of the Mitchell House, Archives and Special Collections in 1999 and then additionally the MMA’s Deputy Director in 2015. She has taught first through eighth grade social studies at the Nantucket New School and from 2005-2008, the MMA and the Egan Maritime Foundation employed her jointly as curator. Jascin holds an undergraduate degree in history with a minor in art history from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree in history with a focus on women and gender studies from Lesley University. Her master’s thesis is titled “The Daring Daughters of Nantucket Island: How Island Women from the Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Centuries Lived a Life Contrary to Other American Women.” Additionally, she has completed graduate work in preservation law. Nantucket has been a part of Jascin’s life since she was two years old. She lives on island year-round with her husband, a naval architect, their son, and their Siberian Husky.
Research and Interests
Jascin has several areas of interest in Nantucket history. One is collaborative living arrangements for married and unmarried women in the nineteenth century. She is also interested in further investigating “Boston Marriages” on the island, as well as avenues of research that pertain to Maria Mitchell, the Mitchell family, and Quakerism. She recently published her master’s thesis which focuses on the opportunities found on Nantucket for women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and how it differed from opportunities for women elsewhere in America at the time. Her book is titled The Daring Daughters of Nantucket Island: How Island Women from the Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Centuries Lived a Life Contrary to Other American Women and can be found in island bookstores, gift shops, the MMA’s gift shops, and online. She also devotes research time to the history of fishing and boatbuilding on the island and the evolution of the island’s architecture.
An active member of the historic preservation community on Nantucket, Jascin served for four years as an Associate Member of the Nantucket Historic District Commission and is a former member of the Nantucket Historic Commission. She serves on the Nantucket Historic District Commission’s Historic Structures Advisory Board, is a trustee of the Historic Coffin School, and is a member of the Nantucket Preservation Trust’s Preservation Awards Committee. For several years, Jascin wrote a column for the online magazine “Nantucket Chronicle” called “Nation of Nantucket” and she keeps a blog for the Mitchell House on the MMA’s website titled “Maria Mitchell’s Attic.”