Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
John Carter Brown Library/ Brown University
Website URL
Early America, 2026, American Revolution, Founding Era, Women, Gender, Family, Atlantic, Archives, Higher Ed., Digital Humanities, Libraries
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I’m a historian of early America, the Beatrice and Julio Mario Santo Domingo Director & Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library, and Professor of History at Brown University.  From 2013-2021 I was the Executive Director of the Omohundro Institute, a center for research and publication on early America and Professor of History at William & Mary.

I care a lot about how early America is perceived and understood by scholars and the public alike. I write about #VastEarlyAmerica as the early American history we need on my blog, and in other venues.

I write about issues concerning archives, reading, and scholarly communication at the Scholarly Kitchen and in other online venues including for the JCB.

I’m finishing a book for Oxford University Press, Lineage: The Politics of Connection in Eighteenth-Century British America, and under contract for the Very Short Introduction:  Genealogy, also with OUP.

Recent Publications

Like many others in the field, my thinking about “vastness” developed over time; you can read about this evolution in several publications.  In 2011 I guest-edited an issue of the OAH Magazine of History dedicated to “Colonial America.”  In my forward, “What’s Colonial and Which America?” and my introduction, “No Boundaries?  New Terrain in Early American History”. Before that OAH Magazine issue, Christopher Grasso and I write about these historiographical currents in a 2008 essay for the Journal of American History “Nothing Says Democracy Like a Visit from the Queen”: Reflections on Empire and Nation in Early American Histories.”

I’ve been writing for a long time about the centrality of family as a concept and as an experience that shaped the early modern Atlantic world.  You can find some of my thoughts in the History Compass here and, in an Introduction to a special issue of the William and Mary Quarterly, co-authored with Julie Hardiwck and Sarah Pearsall, here.

My book on the significance of genealogy in eighteenth-century British America is forthcoming from Oxford UP.  A version of the first chapter of the book is here.

I’ve researched and written about women, gender, and political culture in eighteenth-century British America.  My first book, Milcah Martha Moore’s Book:  A Commonplace Book from Revolutionary America  is co-edited with literary scholar Catherine Blecki.  The astonishing collection of prose and poetry that Milcah Moore collected and transcribed richly reveals the complex political lives and thoughts of her circle of friends, family and associates in eighteenth-century Philadelphia and the wider mid-Atlantic region.   My second book, Not All Wives: Women of Colonial Philadelphia, argues that marriage was a fundamental category of identity and experience for eighteenth-century women; I looked closely at the lives of unmarried women in the largest city in British America to see how they navigated their cultural, economic, legal, and political status.

My third book, co-edited with Susan Klepp, is an edition of The Diary of Hannah Callendar Sansom:  Sense and Sensibilty in the Age of the American Revolution, with interpretive chapters exploring Sansom’s world.  The three books all focused from one vantage or another on Philadelphia in the pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary eighteenth-century.

Media Coverage
Both public writing and media (including video) mostly updated on my website.
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Atlantic, United States
Expertise by Chronology
17th century, 18th century, Early Modern
Expertise by Topic
American Revolution, American Founding Era, Colonialism, Family, Gender, Public History, Religion, Sexuality, Women