Donna Bilak

Lecturer in Discipline

B206 Heyman Center


Ph.D. – Bard Graduate Center 2013
M.A. – York University 2003

Interests and Research

Donna Bilak's research interests encompass early modern European history of science and alchemy, early modern emblem culture, as well as 19th-century jewelry history and technology. Dr. Bilak's doctoral research reconstructed the life and times of a 17th-century Puritan alchemist who operated in England and America, and she was the 2013-14 Edelstein Postdoctoral Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia where her research focused on analysis of the Atalanta fugiens(1618), an alchemical emblem book that encodes laboratory technologies using music and images. Dr. Bilak has lectured extensively on the topics of early modern alchemy as well as jewelry history throughout North America and Europe, abstracts of past presentations can be found


“Alchemy and the End Times: Revelations from the Laboratory and Library of John Allin, Puritan Alchemist (1623-1683)." Ambix: The Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, Vol.60, No.4 (November 2013): 390-414

“Decoding Bronzino’s Portrait of Eleonora di Toledo (c.1539): An Iconography of Jewels and Dress.”
Agnolo Bronzino: The Muse of Florence, ed. Liana De Girolami Cheney (Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, 2014), pp.371-392

“The Crying of Lot 222: A Victorian Brooch Deconstructed.” Ornamentum, Vol.31, No.1-2 (Spring/Summer 2014): 18-21

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for “John Allin (1623-1683).”

[WIP] “The Art of Encryption: Music-Image-Text in Michael Maier’s Alchemical Emblem Book,Atalanta fugiens (1618)”


  • Association for Computers and the Humanities
  • History of Science Society
  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry