Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Borealia on Ann Little's Esther Wheelwright

Historiann does not post much anymore at her blog, more's the pity, but Professor Ann M. Little, her alter ego, is interviewed in a recent Borealia post, talking about her recent book The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright and, among other things, the challenges of writing book length biographies about people who never left any first person testimonies.

Interviewer Keith Grant asks her about the title.  She says:
I think it’s a useful way of thinking about people in the eighteenth century in general, because most people were born into a situation and station in life and they didn’t have all that many choices to make about how they made a living or how they prayed. But I also think it’s an especially useful metaphor for understanding girls’ and women’s lives in all of these cultures–among Protestant British subjects, among the Wabanaki people, and among Catholic French Canadians, women at every level of these communities had fewer choices and options than their male peers.
Esther Wheelwright (1696-1780), daughter of a New England Protestant minister, was captured by the Wabanaki at the age of 7, lived in the Ursuline convent at Quebec City from the age of twelve, and became a nun and eventual mother superior there.
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