Thursdays with the Starr Center


The Lives of Early American Women

Phillis Wheatley portrait

April 29, 2021 - Zoom Registration

Portrayals of early America often center on men. Yet rich — and often untapped — sources remain for understanding the vibrant economic, political, cultural, material, and psychological lives of 18th-century American women. At this event, three Starr Center visiting fellows will discuss what we can glean about these women from letters, land records, poetry, artifacts, and more.

Tara A. Bynum was the Starr Center’s 2018-2019 Hodson Trust- John Carter Brown Library fellow. Bynum, an assistant professor of English & African American Studies at the University of Iowa, is a scholar of early American history, in particular African American literary history. Her book, Reading Pleasures, explores the inner lives of early African American writers, including the poet Phillis Wheatley and is forthcoming from University of Illinois Press’ New Black Studies series.

Judith Ridner, a professor of history at Mississippi State University, is the Starr Center’s 2020-21 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow. Her current book project, Clothing the Babel: The Material Culture of Ethnic Identity in Early America, uses visual and material culture to explore ethnic identities in early America.

Martha Saxton was the 2017 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow at the Starr Center. She is professor emerita of History and of Sexuality, Women’s, and Gender Studies at Amherst College.  At the Starr Center, Saxton worked on The Widow Washington (Macmillan), a biographical study of the founder’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, which was a finalist for the 2020 George Washington Prize.

Click here to register for this free Zoom event. Or view on April 29 at 5 p.m. on Facebook LIVE @ Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.   


The image above, of Phillis Wheatley, is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1926, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal. See this page for further explanation.