Participant Info

First Name
Rachel Hope
Last Name
Website URL
history of sexuality, history of food, LGBTQ history, lesbian history, early America, early American republic,
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Rachel Hope Cleves is the author of Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America (Oxford University Press, 2014), which won the 2015 James C. Bradford Biography Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic and the Stonewall Honor from the American Library Association. Her op-eds have appeared in The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. She is professor of History at the University of Victoria, where she has been teaching since 2009. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2005, and her B.A. at Barnard College, Columbia University, in 1997.

Cleves’ current scholarship seeks to develop new approaches to the histories of sex and gender. She is working on a biography of the writer Norman Douglas, and on a history of the connections between food and sex. She has published many articles and book chapters in the history of sexuality: on the five-hundred-year history of same-sex marriage (Journal of American History, 2015), on trans history and female masculinity (Journal of the History of Sexuality, 2018); on the war poetry of a teenage girl during the American Revolution (William and Mary Quarterly, 2010); on the historiography of pederasty and pedophilia (History Compass, 2017); on revolutionary sexualities in the Early American Republic (Routledge), and on love between women in early America (Oxford Research Encyclopedia).

Cleves’ earlier scholarship focused on Atlantic history, and American reactions to the French Revolution. Her first book, The Reign of Terror in America: Visions of Violence from Antislavery to Anti-Jacobinism (Cambridge University Press, 2009) won the Gilbert Chinard Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies.  She also published articles and book chapters on this theme in The Journal of the Early Republic, Early American Studies, Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française, and in collections published by The University of Virginia Press, and Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Recent Publications


Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America (Oxford University Press, 2014)

The Reign of Terror in America: Visions of Violence from Anti-Jacobinism to Antislavery (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Articles & Book Chapters:

“Same-Sex Love Among Early American Women,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History (2018)

“Revolutionary Sexualities and Early National Genders (1770s-1840s),” in The Routledge History of Queer America (2018)

“Six Ways of Looking at a Trans Man: The Life of Frank Shimer, 1826-1901” The Journal of the History of Sexuality (2018)

“Philotes in the Kitchen: Norman Douglas’s Friendships with Faith Compton Mackenzie, Elizabeth David, Theodora FitzGibbon and Sybille Bedford” in Norman Douglas: 9.Symposium Bregenz und Thüringen/Vorarlberg 2016 (2017)

“From Pederasty to Pedophilia: Sex Involving Children and Youth in U.S. History,” History Compass (2017)

“‘What, Another Female Husband?’: The Pre-History of Same-Sex Marriage in America” Journal of American History (2015)

“Beyond the Binaries in Early America: Special Issue Introduction,” Early American Studies (2014)

“Interchange: The War of 1812 and the Creation of the American Republic” [contributor] Journal of American History (2012)

“Battling the Slaveholders’ ‘Reign of Terror’: Anti-Jacobinism and Abolitionism in the Early American Republic” Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française Special Issue: North America in the Age of the French Revolution, ed. Carla Hesse and Timothy Tackett (2011)

“‘Savage Barbarities!’: Slavery, Race, and the Uncivilizing Process in the United States”  Christa Buschendorf, Astrid Franke, and Johannes Voelz eds. Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Culture (2011)

“‘Hurtful to the State’: The Political Morality of Federalist Antislavery” John Craig Hammond and Matthew Mason, eds. Contesting Slavery: The Politics of Bondage and Freedom in the New American Nation (University of Virginia Press, 2011)

“‘Heedless Youth’: The Revolutionary War Poetry of Ruth Bryant, 1760-1783” The William and Mary Quarterly (2010)

“‘Jacobins in this Country’: The United States and the Transatlantic Language of Anti-Jacobinism” Early American Studies (2010)

“On Writing the History of Violence” Journal of the Early Republic (2004)

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
American Civil War, American Revolution, American Founding Era, Children & Youth, Food History, Gender, Sexuality