Female Husbands


Product Details

$25.95  $24.13
Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.1 X 0.9 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Jen Manion is Associate Professor of History at Amherst College, the author of Liberty's Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (2015), and a lifelong LGBTQ rights advocate.


'Grounded in extensive archival research, this study by Manion (Amherst College) explores how the term 'female husband' - used to describe a person categorized as 'female' at birth but who occupied a social position as a (heterosexual) 'man' - went in and out of public use in the UK (1740-1840) and the US (1830-1910) ... A clear, compelling, and compassionate text ... Highly recommended.' T. E. Adams, Choice
'... fascinating ... extremely thought-provoking.' Christina Patterson, The Sunday Times
'Female Husbands has been assembled from a wealth of firsthand historical research. The book includes a lengthy introduction, endnotes, an index, and a number of photos that illustrate everything from weddings to legal documents, all of which may be helpful to future researchers.' Martha Miller, The Gay & Lesbian Review
'In this painstakingly researched study, Jen Manion opens a window into a previously unseen dimension of the British and American past. Female Husbands explores the lives of people who transed gender, lived as men, and married women between the colonial period and World War I, situating them in the context of broader political and social developments including changing understandings of gender and women's rights. The book is a stunning and path breaking achievement.' Drew Faust, President Emeritus and the Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor, Harvard University, Massachusetts
'Jen Manion offers a spectacular historical survey of people assigned female at birth who went on to live as men and marry women. In doing so, they demonstrate that contemporary attention to trans issues is just the tip of a vast, submerged legacy of gender variance, traversing both sides of the English-speaking transatlantic world, that stretches back hundreds of years.' Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History and The Transgender Studies Reader
'Female Husbands is a treasure trove of historical insights.' Heike Bauer, Times Higher Education
'Manion's triumph in Female Husbands is to treat with an openhanded and flexible approach a series of lives that resisted categories and flourished through ambiguity.' Karen Harvey, BBC History Magazine
'An altogether fresh and innovative take on centuries-old identities and relationships, Female Husbands shows its readers how the most forward-thinking and progressive conceptions of gender and sexuality can find their origins in the past.' Hannah Roche, The Times Literary Supplement
'... Manion's approach to their subjects reminds readers that those who transed gender existed within a kind of heritage and tradition despite the seemingly singular and spectacular nature of their experiences. Indeed, Female Husbands challenges the spectacular framing of the titular husbands by contemporaneous material over and over, examining the shared tropes and cultural anxieties that animated these accounts so as to call their veracity into question. In doing so, Manion builds a framework for examining transness and narrative tropes surrounding transness both historically and in the modern day.' Julia Ftacek, Global Maritime History
'Female Husbands combines intellectual rigor and impeccable historical research with sensitivity and even imagination to illuminate this fascinatingly varied cohort of gender rebels.' Emma Donoghue, author of Room and Akin
'Jen Manion mines Anglo-American newspapers, books, and pamphlets and shows us how 'female husbands' confounded conceptions of sex, gender, and sexuality. An engaging account of the unruly history of 'transing', and the surveillance of it, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.' Joanne Meyerowitz, author of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States
'A masterclass in historical rigour, empathy, and craft.' Catherine Baker, History Today
'A detailed, synoptic history of a fascinating dimension of 18th- and 19th-century cultural history in Britain and the US.' Grace Lavery, The Guardian