Project Proposer/s: Tom Cutterham
Parties, gossip, taste, money, and power… At the end of the eighteenth century, an age of political revolution coincided with a high-point of elite society in cities like London, Philadelphia, and New York. Women with access to money and connections exercised significant agency in the construction of their own social worlds, and their behaviour helped reshape class and social structure in this radical era. I am writing a book about one of these women, Angelica Schuyler Church, who lived in London between 1784 and 1797, and I need help gathering evidence and ideas about women’s social and domestic lives during that period. My research scholar will use the novels, plays, advice manuals and periodicals of the period—especially those written by women themselves—to build a detailed archival picture of wealthy women’s lifestyles, which we can then match to Angelica’s own story through her letters, bringing her to life.
What the researcher will do
- Become familiar with the secondary literature on elite women in the period, to help guide primary source investigation.
- Read influential novels and plays from the period looking for examples and illustrations of women’s social world.
- Systematically analyse periodicals such as The Lady’s Magazine to gather evidence of elite social life and expectations.
- Create a database of examples and descriptions based on this research, cross-referenced to secondary literature.
- Contribute to writing a short article for a popular audience about Angelica’s London life during the 1790s.
Skills required by the Scholarship holder
Some knowledge or understanding of the late eighteenth century, and/or of women’s history, would be helpful. Experience reading pre-1830 printed texts, perhaps including a familiarity with Jane Austen, is desirable. No special skills are necessary.
English is sufficient, but any kind of reading proficiency in French and/or Italian would be a bonus.
How will your Project benefit the Scholarship holder?
You’ll gain skills in primary and secondary historical research that will be useful to working on your dissertation, as well as a much deeper knowledge of the late eighteenth-century and women’s history. You will gain experience with database design and management. And you’ll also learn about how to communicate historical research to different audiences, working with me through the process of pitching and writing an article for the general public.