First Lady of Letters: Judith Sargent Murray and the Struggle for Female Independence

First Lady of Letters: Judith Sargent Murray and the Struggle for Female Independence

by Sheila L. Skemp
     
 

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Thanks to the recent discovery of Judith Sargent Murray's papers—including some 2,500 personal letters—Sheila L. Skemp has documented the compelling story of a talented and most unusual eighteenth-century woman.

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Overview

Thanks to the recent discovery of Judith Sargent Murray's papers—including some 2,500 personal letters—Sheila L. Skemp has documented the compelling story of a talented and most unusual eighteenth-century woman.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"First Lady of Letters is an admirable history of this all-but-forgotten Federalist-era women's rights advocate, who argued powerfully that girls could shine as brightly as boys if only they were given the benefits of a classical education and parents who encouraged them to 'reverence themselves.'"—Wall Street Journal

"Accessibly written, and with contextual material involving both Murray's times and up-to-date historical thinking about Enlightenment women and the early republic, the book will become the starting point for all future work about Murray and women writers before the Jacksonian period."—American Historical Review

"A very fine biography, one that is not only an excellent work of scholarship but also highly readable and engaging. In mining and analyzing new materials, Skemp has turned the historical spotlight on an author and critic worthy of ongoing consideration."—New England Quarterly

"I am deeply grateful to Skemp for providing us with such a comprehensive perspective on Murray and for helping bring her out of the shadows and into the limelight shared by contemporaries such as Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren. . . . What is most valuable about this book, however, is Skemp's wonderful depiction of the transition in the early Republic as old New England families were forced to share power and authority with the rising classes."—William and Mary Quarterly

"Sheila Skemp gives readers unprecedented access to Murray's private writing, shared almost exclusively with family members and close friends, at these and other momentous occasions in her exceptional new biography. Skemp takes us beyond Murray's more familiar published work to her richly descriptive thoughts on the terrors of childbirth; travels; visits with the likes of Washington and John Adams; and the travails of educating her daughter, two girls also under her stewardship, and the boisterous sons of her brother, who had been sent north from Natchez with Harvard in their sights."—Eighteenth-Century Studies

"Skemp's nimble selection of the details. . . reveal in stunning, sad, and human detail the mind and life of a brilliant woman who advocated for women's equality well before Mary Wollstonecraft."—Resources for American Literary Study

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812203523
Publisher:
University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date:
08/24/2011
Series:
Early American Studies
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
512
File size:
2 MB

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