We invite CHS members to join us for a brown bag lunch talk with Amy Breimaier, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Fellow and University of Massachusetts Amherst Ph.D. Candidate studying historical children’s literature, readership practices, and childhood studies.
Her brown bag talk will examine how, thanks to the collections of New England’s archives, a growing literature on nineteenth-century child readers exists. However, few studies capture the ractices and attitudes of child readers, their families and teachers, and the printers and booksellers who served them during the tumultuous period from 1765 through 1815 in New England. As a result, scholars have not fully accounted for the cultural and economic factors that led individuals to engage in the new print market of juvenile literature and to invest in new educational institutions that developed during this period. My dissertation, “‘I learn my Books well’: Child Readers and the Economics of Cultural Change in New England, 1765-1815,” offers a nuanced understanding of how cultural change occurred during this period as New Englanders were faced with social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals that challenged them to reconcile their Calvinist traditions with emerging cultures of sensibility and refinement.
At the Connecticut Historical Society, Breimaier will examine a number of collections pertaining to the state’s printers, booksellers, and schools. These include the papers of the Babcock Family, Samuel Loudon, the Deming and Francis Family, the Gilman Family, the Bunnell Family, the Wethersfield First School Society, the Norwich School, the Hartford First School District, and the records of Plymouth (Conn.) pertaining to school attendance and finances. In addition to these collections,she also plans to study some of the inscribed juvenile literature and personal writings of young people from this period. These include Caroline Holley’s 1800 copy of A short but comprehensive system of the geography of the world, and the papers of the Brainard and Foote Family, Mason Fitch Cogswell, the Ebenezer Punderson Family, Lydia Huntley Sigourney, and Selden Warner.
We will provide coffee and dessert, feel free to bring your brown bag lunch to enjoy during the talk. Please RSVP by June 14 and indicate the program name and date by calling (860) 236-5621 x238 or emailing [email protected].