Barbara Gilbert Carson
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Barbara Gilbert Carson, 70, died at home on Oct. 21, 2011, in Williamsburg.
During her life, she was always a teacher. To her students, she was an instructor and mentor. To family, friends and colleagues, she was a wonderful comrade, a gifted conversationalist and throughout her illness, an example of courage, forbearance and everlasting cheerfulness.
Raised and schooled in Lebanon, Pa., she took degrees from Brown University and the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware. Over her long career in the classroom, she taught American history and American are at the Radcliffe Institute, George Washington University, the College of William & Mary, the New School for Social Research, the Winterthur Museum and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. She lectured widely and shared her expertise as a consultant to many museums and historical societies.
Her notable publications include "The Apparatus of Science at Harvard, 1760-1800," "Ambitious Appetites:?Dining Behavior and Patterns of Consumption in Federal Washington," "The Governor's Palace at Williamsburg" and a training course for National Park Service interpreters.
She leaves many good friends; her daughter, Purcell; and her husband, Cary, otherwise known to most of her students as "Mr. Barbara Carson."
A memorial concert is planned for early next year.
Online condolences may be registered at

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Published in Virginia Gazette from Nov. 2 to Dec. 2, 2011.
Memories & Condolences
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17 entries
November 29, 2011
Dear Cary:
I was so sorry to learn of Barbara's passing, and wanted to send you my deepest sympathy. This holiday season will be tough for you and your daughter, and I'll be thinking of you both during the days immediately ahead.
Cathy Grosfils
November 23, 2011
Dear Cary,
Please accept my deepest sympathy. Although I hadn't seen Barbara for quite a long time, I remember our conversations around the kitchen table at Winterthur with great affection. Barbara's insight, her scholarship, her wit, and her grace will be missed by all who knew her.
Much love to you and Purcell.
Susan Williams
November 16, 2011
Dear Cary and Purcell,
Our thoughts are with you both. Barbara was an inspiration to so many students and colleagues.
Sally Sims Stokes and Sam Stokes
November 8, 2011
To the Carson family,
My hearfelt condolences for your loss. Barbara was one of the most memorable instructors in my career, and taught me to think outside of the box. This grand lady shall be greatly missed in the scholarly world.
Tina Reuwsaat
November 8, 2011
Dear Cary and Purcell,
Kari and I send you our deepest sympathy and regrets. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend some time with Barbara and will always remember her sharp wit and lust for life. Ben Niles
Ben Niles
November 5, 2011
No words ever adequately convey sympathies when a loved one leaves us.
Barbara was so brave, so inspiraing in her strength and resolve; she will be deeply missed as much for these qualities as she is for the many contributions she made in her scholarly work.

I will want to come to the concert honoring her.

November 4, 2011
Dear Cary and Purcell: Becky and I speed our best wishes and happiest memories your way. Barbara was the ultimate citizen scholar, always dedicated to the transformative conversation. When I teach Ambitious Appetites, I try to communicate the richness of her imagination and the discipline of her craft. Barbara's intellectual generosity and humor are missed.
Bernie and Becky Herman
November 3, 2011
Dear Cary,
I am so sorry for your loss. I was always so impressed with how cheerful and brave Barbara was despite her illness. She, and you, are very often in our thoughts.
Yours sincerely,
Ron Schechter
Ronald Schechter
November 3, 2011
Barbara was a wonderful mentor and teacher. All of her former students will miss her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family.
Mollie (Malone) Barton
Mollie Barton
November 3, 2011
Cary, I am so sorry for your loss. I was so fond of Barbara and I know she will be greatly missed. All my best to you, Kathryn Jenkins.
November 2, 2011
Cary & Family
May He comfort all in this great loss and bless each one with peace and the hope of Heaven. Our sincere condolences.
Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers
lorri & noel veden
November 2, 2011
Cary, I was so sorry to hear about Barbara's death. I feel fortunate to have known her and only regret that we were not able to spend more time together. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Purcell now and in the future.
Nancy Carter Crump
November 2, 2011
Cary & Purcell,
Harold and I were sad to read that Barbara has passed away. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Barbara was a very special lady and we are blessed to have known her.
Love, Margie and Harold Gill
November 2, 2011
Cary and Purcell,
My deepest sympathies for the loss of Barbara. She was an amazing spirit who touched so many in a multitude of ways. I feel blessed to have known her, learn from her and to have shared engaging conversations with her. Thank you for sharing her with us all.
Christy Coleman
November 2, 2011
To the Carson family,

So sorry to hear of your loss of beloved Barbara. Although I did not have the opportunity to spend much time with her, I found her as an inspiration to be admired. It was a pleasure getting to know her.
Patty- "Patty's Place"
Patty's Place
November 2, 2011
Barbara will be remembered for her warm smile, generous spirit and loving ways.
Rose McAphee-Byrd
November 2, 2011
Dear Cary,
I share your grief in Barbara's death as you shared mine when Genevieve died. Mike McGiffert
Mike McGiffert
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