Claiming the Pen: Women and Intellectual Life in the Early American South


Product Details

$76.95  $71.56
Cornell University Press
Publish Date
6.31 X 9.2 X 0.93 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Catherine Kerrison is Associate Professor of History at Villanova University.


Catherine Kerrison's wonderful new book challenges scholars on a host of points. She asks us to think about how the history of the book, print culture, and reading can inform a broader intellectual history. She prods us to broaden our understanding of intellectual history to include the prescriptive literature, letters, journals, and commonplace books that formed the minds of eighteenth-century women. And she poses these questions on a ground unfamiliar and even alien to American historians: the intellectual history of women in the early South.

--Beth Barton Schweiger "The Book: Newsletter of the American Antiquarian Society"

Kerrison skillfully weaves the stories of women--some famous, some obscure--into a compelling and sophisticated study. In so doing, she connects the intellectual and cultural history of the southern colonies to the better-known historiography of the Old House and raises new questions about gender, race, and the origins of a distinctive southern regional identity.

-- "William and Mary Quarterly"

Kerrison succeeds in uncovering the rich texture of women's evolving intellectual interests, concerns, and challenges throughout the eighteenth century and into the first decades of the nineteenth century.... Kerrison reconstructs southern women's intellectual lives by using a wide variety of sources more often associated with social history--wills, probate records, account books, newspapers, letters, and journals. Drawing upon these sources, Kerrison argues that although southern women faced more constraints in their intellectual development than their northern contemporaries, they nonetheless were able to construct their own intellectual identities and assert certain kinds of intellectual authority.

--Rosemarie Zagarri "North Carolina Historical Review"