GPP Coffee Break

Join Georgian Papers Programme scholar Angel-Luke O’Donnell for an online version of the popular GPP Coffee Break series at King’s College London. Join us on May 12, 2022, at 3:00 pm BST (10:00 am ET) for a presentation by Georgian Papers Programme fellow Natalee Garrett (University of St. Andrews) titled “Queen Charlotte: Family, Duty, Scandal.” Dr. Garrett is working… Read More

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"Marriage, Motherhood, Slaveholding: Isabella Graham in North America, 1767-1772"

OI Colloquium with Amanda Moniz The future philanthropist Isabella Graham was a still-new wife and young mother when she arrived in North America in 1768 with her husband, a British Army physician. She would spend the next several years in Montreal and Fort Niagara, establishing a family, adjusting to unfamiliar environments, and becoming an enslaver. Exploring experiences that would… Read More

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Making the Personal Historical: Reflections on Pregnancy and Birth

“A Lady & Children,” mezzotint (1780), British Museum. This post accompanies “Motherhood in Early America,” episode 237 of Ben Franklin’s World. It was originally posted at the Junto and has been lightly revised. by Lindsay M. Keiter Human reproduction is simultaneously unchanged and radically different over time and across cultures. Read More

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The Double-Edged Sword of Motherhood Under American Slavery

H.E. Hayward and Slave Nurse Louisa, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, Missouri. This post accompanies “Motherhood in Early America,” episode 237 of Ben Franklin’s World. by Emily West Mother’s Day offers opportunities to reflect upon motherhood in relation to ethnicity and class. Racial discrimination and poverty mean that a narrow conceptualization of biological motherhood associated with domestic care and nurture is not applicable to all in the past or present. This is especially true when considering the lives of enslaved women, for whom motherhood was a double-edged sword and many of whom endured a complex relationship with mothering. Women knew that their babies held pecuniary value to slaveholders and that they might be forcibly separated from their offspring at any time. Maternal love for children therefore co-existed alongside more ambivalent attitudes towards motherhood among enslaved women who rightly feared that their children might be wrenched away or otherwise fail to survive under the slave regime. Read More

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