Virtual Course | The Lives of Early American Women: Revolutionary Women with Kalela Williams [in progress]

Date / Time

  • November 13, 2021
    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • December 11, 2021
    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • January 8, 2022
    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


This program is sponsored by Kelsey and Glenn Bates


  • Tuition for this course is $150.
  • Rosenbach members receive a 10% discount on tuition.
  • Not a member? We invite you to join upon registration. Click here for more information about membership.
  • This course is limited to participants who are 17 years of age or older.
  • This course is held virtually over Zoom. Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation.
  • If you have questions about registration, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].
  • Registration opens for Delancey Society members on August 4, for members on August 6, and for the general public on August 9.



Course Description

Historical fiction and poetry by contemporary authors meet primary sources written by U.S. women during the 17th and 18th centuries in this course series, allowing a deep exploration of the texture of women’s lives in the past.

Together, we’ll read and discuss the letters, diaries, and associated primary sources of a diverse set of 17th and 18th century U.S. women, from literary scions like Phillis Wheatley, to personal writings by early feminist icons like Mary Wollstonecraft and Mercy Lewis, and less familiar voices. We’ll also explore how modern day novelists and poets, including Honorée Fannone Jeffers and Alex Meyers, fictionally render the lives of 18th century women in their books.

Throughout the series, discussions will connect us with the works in question, while creative prompts and activities will engage us with our own writing. The true life or fictionalized stories of women will inspire us to delve into the actual, lived experiences of U.S. women of the past, learning how they lived and worked, what they wore, and how they cared for their families.

Part I: Revolutionary Women runs from November 2021 through January 2022. Participants are especially encouraged to register for Part II: Victorian Voices, taking place February 2022-April 2022, when registration opens. A special “Founding Sisters” tour for participants of both course series will take place in April 2022.

Required Text

Women’s Letters: American from the Revolutionary War to the Present edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler. Other readings as provided.

The Lives of Early American Women: Revolutionary Women with Kalela Williams Syllabus

About the Instructor

Kalela Williams is the founder of Black History Maven, a gathering community that honors all diverse pasts, affirms Black identity and pride, and engages communities in literary, artistic, and cultural conversations. She is the current Director of Writing of Philadelphia youth organization Mighty Writers, and previously worked in literary programming for the Free Library of Philadelphia and James Madison University’s Furious Flower Poetry Center.

In addition, Kalela serves on the board of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and writes fiction that connects history with the present. Her essay, “The Three Century Walk” is forthcoming this fall in Making Tracks: Reflections on Walking by New Door Books, and she recently was awarded a Tin House Writing Residency for her YA novel-in-progress, The Rosebine Daughters. Kalela has led literary and writing workshops for museums, organizations, and institutions including the Barnes Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Library Company of Philadelphia, Mural Arts, and many others.

Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships may be available for this course. For more information, please contact Emilie Parker at [email protected].

About Rosenbach Courses

Revisit beloved classics or experience new ones with Rosenbach courses. Book lovers delve into fiction, history, and poetry with the guidance of a literary expert and the company of other readers. See all upcoming courses.

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