Peter Handler

Born: 1947 | Brooklyn, NY, US

Peter Handler was born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, and spent much of his childhood in New Jersey. Self-described as an atheist-Jew, Peter spent his summers as a teenager at the Shaker Village Work Camp in New Lebanon, New York. Much of his life since has focused either on building or making himself part of communities. Peter studied political science at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where he spent winters skiing at Sugarloaf Mountain. On graduation in 1968 Peter applied to his draft board as a conscientious objector. He spent the summer of 1969 living near Acadia National Park and attended Woodstock Music Festival. For several years after he lived in a commune near Ithaca, New York. In the late 1970s Peter earned his MFA in jewelry-making and metalsmithing from the School for American Craftsmen at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Peter moved to Philadelphia in 1982 and became a furniture maker in 1984. He has remained in Philadelphia and still constructs custom studio furniture for people’s homes. Early in 2012 Peter helped found the Philadelphia chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and became its group leader.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Research Interview 0144
No. of pages: 42
Minutes: 132

Interview Sessions

Roger Eardley-Pryor
3 August 2017
Peter Handler’s Home, Germantown (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States)

Abstract of Interview

Peter Handler was born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, and spent much of his childhood in New Jersey. Self-described as an atheist-Jew, Peter spent his summers as a teenager at the Shaker Village Work Camp in New Lebanon, New York. Much of his life since has focused either on building or making himself part of communities. Peter studied political science at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where he spent winters skiing at Sugarloaf Mountain. On graduation in 1968 Peter applied to his draft board as a conscientious objector. He spent the summer of 1969 living near Acadia National Park and attended Woodstock Music Festival. For several years after he lived in a commune near Ithaca, New York. In the late 1970s Peter earned his MFA in jewelry-making and metalsmithing from the School for American Craftsmen at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Peter moved to Philadelphia in 1982 and became a furniture maker in 1984. He has remained in Philadelphia and still constructs custom studio furniture for people’s homes. Early in 2012 Peter helped found the Philadelphia chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and became its group leader.

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About the Interviewer

Roger Eardley-Pryor

Roger Eardley-Pryor earned his PhD in 2014 from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). At UCSB, he became a National Science Foundation graduate fellow in the Center for Nanotechnology in Society. Prior to that, Roger earned his B.Phil. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University in Ohio. As a historian of science, technology, and the environment, Roger taught courses at Portland State University, at Linfield College in Oregon, and at Washington State University in Vancouver, Washington. From 2015-2018, Roger held a postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Center for Oral History at the Science History Institute. His work explored ways that twentieth and twenty-first-century scientists and engineers, culture-makers, and political actors have imagined, confronted, or cohered with nature at various scales, from the atomic to the planetary. Roger also co-designed, earned funding for, and managed the place-based oral history project titled “Imagining Philadelphia’s Energy Futures.” In 2018, Roger joined the Oral History Center in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.