Richard F. Hirsh

Richard Hirsh performs research on and writes about the history of the American electric utility system.  A professor of history of technology at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia, he has focused on the evolution and transformation of the utility system in the 20th and early 21st centuries, its regulation (and deregulation), the growing employment of renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies, and the often-mischaracterized development of rural electrification in the United States.

He can be reached at electricity @ (or richard @

A fuller (but still brief) biography of Richard Hirsh can be found here, and an abridged curriculum vitae can be read here.


Richard’s newest book, Powering American Farms: The Overlooked Origins of Rural Electrification (June 2022), provides a revisionist look at how non-urban citizens obtained electricity in the twentieth century.  More information about this book (and his three others), can be found on this page.