cover of book

In the Neighborhood: Women's Publication in Early America
by Caroline Wigginton
University of Massachusetts Press, 2016
Paper: 978-1-62534-222-5 | eISBN: 978-1-61376-424-4 | Cloth: 978-1-62534-221-8
Library of Congress Classification PS149.W54 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 810.99287

In this compelling and original book, Caroline Wigginton reshapes our understanding of early American literary history. Overturning long-standing connections between the male-dominated print culture of pamphlets, broadsides, and newspapers and the transformative ideas that instigated the American Revolution, Wigginton explores how women's "relational publications"—circulated texts, objects, and performances—transformed their public and intimate worlds. She argues that Native, black, and white women's interpersonal "publications" revolutionized the dynamics of power and connection in public and private spaces, whether those spaces were Quaker meeting houses, Creek talwas, trading posts, burial grounds, or the women's own "neighborhoods."

Informed by deep and rich archival research, Wigginton's case studies explore specific instances of "relational publication." The book begins with a pairing of examples—the statement a grieving Lenape mother made through a wampum belt and the political affiliations created when a salon hostess shared her poetry. Subsequent chapters trace a history of women's publication practice, including a Creek woman's diplomatic and legal procession-spectacles in the colonial Southeast, a black mother's expression of protest in Newport, Rhode Island, and the resulting evangelical revival, Phillis Wheatley's elegies that refigured neighborhoods of enslaved and free Bostonians, and a Quaker woman's pious and political commonplace book in Revolutionary Philadelphia.
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