Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Colorado Boulder
Website URL
Early America, founding era, genealogy, slavery, law.
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Honor Sachs earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work focuses on the history of early America, with particular attention to slavery, gender, and law. Her first book, Home Rule: Households, Manhood, and National Expansion on the Eighteenth-Century Kentucky Frontier (Yale University Press, 2015) received the Armitage-Jameson Prize from the Coalition for Western Women’s History and the Kentucky Book Prize. She is currently working on two new book projects, both set in the era of the American Revolution. The first, Freedom by a Judgment: The Legal History of an Afro-Indian Family, tells the history of an extended, mixed-race Virginia slave family that sued for freedom over multiple generations between the 1770s to the 1820s, claiming descent from an Apalachee Indian woman. The second, Servant, Soldier, Slaveholder: A Story of Political Revolution, Personal Transformation, and Racial Violence in Early America, traces the life of a single individual from London to Kentucky and explores issues of convict transportation in the Atlantic World and racial violence in the early republic.

Her scholarly articles and reviews have appeared in the Law and History Review, the William and Mary Quarterly, the American Historical Review, and the Journal of Southern History. She also contributes editorial pieces to the Huffington Post and History News Network and consults for public television.

She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, and Filson Historical Society, among others, and was the Cassius Marcellus Clay postdoctoral fellow at Yale University.

Recent Publications


Home Rule: Households, Manhood, and National Expansion on the Eighteenth-Century Kentucky Frontier.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015.


Peer-reviewed articles:

“‘Freedom by a Judgment’: The Legal History of an Afro-Indian Family,” Law and History Review 30, no. 1 (February 2012): 173-203.

“Reconstructing a Life: The Archival Challenges of Women’s History,” Library Trends56, no. 3 (2008): 650-666.

“The Myth of the Abandoned Wife: Married Women’s Agency and the Legal Narrative of Gender in Eighteenth-Century Kentucky,” Ohio Valley History3, no. 4(2003): 3-20.



“The Old Threadbare Lie Behind North Carolina’s HB2,” Huffington Post, 4/7/16

“Confronting Slavery on Independence Day,” Huffington Post, 7/2/15

“Thanksgiving and Civil War,” Huffington Post, 11/28/14

“Devils, Saints, and Denmark Vesey,” Huffington Post, 2/7/14

“Barack Obama’s ‘Slave’ Ancestor and the Politics of Genealogy,” History News Network, 8/6/12

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century
Expertise by Topic
American Revolution, American Founding Era, Family, Gender, Race, Slavery, Women