Clare Gleeson is a social historian with particular interests in New Zealand’s musical and gardening histories. Clare studied history at the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington. Her doctoral thesis looked at domestic music making in New Zealand from 1840 to 1940 and the music trade – those who supplied the instruments (usually the piano) and music to enable this musical activity to take place. She was awarded the Bowen Prize and the Zander and Dryden Families Prize for History by Victoria University of Wellington.
Clare is currently co-curating a website on New Zealand musical personalities active between 1840 and 1920, featuring composers, music retailers and publishers. Musical Notables of New Zealand was launched in 2019 and is an ongoing project.
Clare contributed a chapter to Memories of Musical Lives: Music and Dance from Personal Music Collections in Australia and New Zealand, published by Lyrebird Press, Melbourne in December 2022.
A keen gardener, Clare’s research interest has more recently focused on New Zealand’s gardening history, in particular those individuals who have contributed to New Zealand’s rich horticultural landscape.
In 2020 Clare was awarded the Pratt Family Scholarship by Heritage Roses New Zealand Inc to undertake research into garden designer Alfred Buxton’s use of roses. This has led to ongoing research into Buxton’s gardens.
Clare has had articles on garden history published in New Zealand Gardener, New Zealand Listener, Journal of New Zealand Studies, The Gardener’s Journal, Historic Gardens Review, Australian Garden History Society Journal and Script & Print: Journal of the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand.