Virtual Behind the Bookcase: Founding Fathers and Revolutionary Women

Date / Time

  • July 1, 2020
    12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

To celebrate Independence Day, we invite you to join members of The Rosenbach’s Collections Department as we take an intimate look at our Founding Fathers’ handwritten letters and notes to family, friends, colleagues—and even to themselves. Get to know our nation’s first political icons—George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson—as the complex, real people they were.

But not all history was made by men! Even before Independence from Great Britain, women in America were revolutionary. In the second half of the program, we’ll look at the lives and works of Anne Bradstreet and Phillis Wheatley, the first American women to publish, and consider their ideas about women’s place in society and enslavement. While the North American colonies sought Independence from Great Britain, women on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean considered the possibilities of liberty for their gender, led by philosopher and author Mary Wollstonecraft. Her friend and French revolutionary supporter Helen Maria Williams published poetry opposed to slavery, war, and colonialism. We’ll see their writings, too, and have time for questions from you.


For related content, check out:
Gallery Gateway: Out of Many, One: Diversity and the American Experiment
Gallery Gateway: The Rights of Woman: Gender in Robert Burns’s Enlightenment
A selection of George Washington manuscripts from The Rosenbach collection here.

Image credit: Frontispiece of Phillis Wheatley, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London: Printed for A. Bell, Bookseller, Aldgate; and sold by Messrs. Cox and Berry, King-Street, Boston, 1773), A 773p.

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