Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Karin Wulf

Committee Member

Fabricio Prado

Committee Member

Simon Middleton


"Miss Rebecca Story's Book": A Portal to a Boundless World This paper examines the geographic, literary, and personal connections displayed in a commonplace book of a young girl in the early years of the American republic. A close textual analysis of the commonplace book of Rebecca Story of Marblehead, Massachusetts, in combination with a study of her surrounding environment, offers a methodological approach that simultaneously individualizes and contextualizes a nearly obscured life. This study attempts to reconstruct the world in which she lived, studied, read, and wrote, a world that was inherently informed by her contemporaries' experiences but that also was uniquely her own. The intellectual imagination that created Rebecca Story's world depended on her capacity to envision events, ideas, institutions, and places that superseded the concrete borders of Massachusetts and the abstract borders of gender roles at the turn of the century. an analysis of the literature she read, the people she met, and the places she lived shows Rebecca Story's connections to an expansive network of wider geographic, political, and intellectual worlds in the late eighteenth-century. Creating a record of these linkages that span the Atlantic world and beyond demonstrates how the expansive nature of the early American world could touch even the most provincial lives. "Marrying a Minnister": Esther Burr's Letter-Journal and Identity as a Colonial Minister's Wife This paper is an exploration into the private and public roles of the wives of colonial American clergymen. Although the subject of the colonial minister once received an abundance of scholarly attention, new questions still emerge from surrounding community and familial networks. Using the experience of Esther Edwards Burr as a case study, with her writings in a unique letter-journal format as an evidentiary base, this study identifies the wives of colonial clergymen as occupying a distinct public role within their community as conduits between the private lives of parishioners and the public expressions of their religious life. Defining the specificities of the role of the colonial minister's wife nuances previous explanations of gender roles and public identities, and shows that further exploration into the roles of these women is necessary for fuller comprehension of the gendered communities of early America.




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