Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Chicago; American Bar Foundation
Website URL
History of the corporation, legal history, history of capitalism, history of the long Nineteenth Century, history of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
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Personal Info

About Me

Evelyn Atkinson is a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation, “American Frankenstein: Creating the Constitutional Corporate Person,” traces the development of the constitutional law of corporate personhood in the nineteenth century United States. Combining legal history and social history, she illuminates how, from the early years of the new republic, farmers, merchants, and others who dealt with corporations in their daily lives attempted to enforce a vision of popular sovereignty that included public regulation of business corporations. These local movements for control of corporations, she reveals, resulted in the seminal legal cases that granted corporations constitutional rights, and shaped ongoing conflicts over the nature of democracy, economic justice, and the relationship of corporations to the state. Evelyn’s scholarly publications have appeared in the Journal of Law & Social Inquiry, the Law and History Review, the Yale Journal of Law & Humanities, and the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender.  She is the recipient of the Fishel-Calhoun Article Prize from the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, as well as the Graduate Student Paper Competition Prize from the Journal of Law & Social Inquiry, for her article, “The Burden of Taking Care: Attractive Nuisance Lawsuits and the Safety First Movement.” She received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School and her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College.

Recent Publications

—”Creating the Reasonable Child: Risk, Responsibility, and the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine.” Law & Social Inquiry (May 22, 2017).
—Book review. “Kevin Butterfield, The Making of Tocqueville’s America: Law and Association in the Early United States.” Law and History Review 35, no. 1 (Feb. 2017): 261–63.
—”Out of the Household: Master-Servant Relations and Employer Liability Law.” Yale Journal of Law & Humanities 25, no. 2 (Sum. 2013).

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Economic History, Law