Judith Sargent Murray: A Brief History with Documents / Edition 1

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Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820) was at the center of the post-Revolution discussion concerning the proper role of women in the new Republic. Her voice dominated American discussion of women's character and their future in both intimate and public life. Here, Sheila Skemp supports her biographical essay with 15 of Murray's letters, essays, and poems.

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Editorial Reviews

A brief study of the life and work of America's first notable feminist, providing a window on gender issues being debated during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Nine thematic chapters examine Murray's experience of and pronouncements on marriage, motherhood, religion, women's education, writing, and the construction of gender in American society. Fifteen primary documents, including letters, poems, and essays, give access to her views. Includes a chronology. Distributed by St. Martin's Press. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312115067
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 2/28/1998
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 210
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheila L. Skemp is professor of history at the University of Mississippi, where she received an award for Outstanding teacher in the Liberal Arts. She is the author of William Franklin: Son of a Patriot, Servant of a King (1990) and of Benjamin and William Franklin: Father and Son, Patriot and Loyalist (Bedford Books, 1994). She has also served as co-editor of two volumes dealing with issues of race and gender in the South. Skemp is currently completing a full-length cultural biography of Judith Sargent Murray.

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Table of Contents



Introduction: Judith Sargent Murray's World
1. A Sargent of Gloucester
2. "The Despotism of Tradition": Universalism Comes to Gloucester
3. Earning the "Laurel Wreath": The Revolutionary Years
4. The Fruits of Independence: Women and Property in the Republic
5. The Bonds of Matrimony
6. "The Maternal Character"
7. A "Most Extensive Education"
8. A "Mania" for Literary Fame
9. Conclusion: "God Doth Equally His Gifts Impart"


1. The Gleaner on Famous Literary Women, 1798
2. Preface to Judith Sargent Murray's Catechism, 1782
3. "Upon Printing My Little Catechism" (poem), 1782
4. "Reflecting, during a Fine Morning, upon Existing Circumstances" (poem)
5. Letter to Winthrop Sargent, February 25, 1778
6. "Margaretta Faces an Economic Crisis" (fiction), 1798
7. The Gleaner on Women's Attributes as Breadwinners, 1798
8. "Reasons for Lack of Union in the Wedded State" (poem)
9. "Margaretta Faces a Marital Crisis" (fiction), 1798
10. "Lines Written While Rocking the Cradle of My Julia Maria" (poem), December 8, 1791
11. "Margaretta's Education" (fiction), 1798
12. Letter to Winthrop Sargent, September 1803
13. Letter to Reverend Redding, May 7, 1801
14. On the Equality of the Sexes, 1790
15. The Gleaner Contemplates the Future Prospects of Women in this "Enlightened Age," 1798


A Judith Sargent Murray Chronology (1751-1820)
Selected Bibliography


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