You can listen to Episode 9 of Season 2 of the WPHP Monthly Mercury, "Transatlantic Trajectories," on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and other podcast apps, available via Buzzsprout.

 

In July 2020, project lead Michelle Levy and lead editor Kandice Sharren attended a virtual workshop hosted by Amy Tims at the American Antiquarian Society titled “Searching the AAS Catalog: Keyword & Browse.” This workshop introduced them to the many specific and useful headings of the American Antiquarian Society catalog, including some that we were particularly excited for given that we see them in resources so rarely: “women as authors” and “women as publishers and printers.” In November 2021, the WPHP used these headings to import more than 6000 title records from the American Antiquarian Society. Our thrilling plunge into titles printed in the United States is something we’ve been anticipating, and started preparing for over the last two years: we added a ‘copyright statement’ field, for example, so that we could capture the copyright information located on the verso of the title page of many American titles. 

While our team of research assistants works diligently to clean up these imported records and make them available to the public, we have been starting to think about what having this data in the WPHP might tell us about the transatlantic reprinting of women’s writing during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the process, we have had to grapple with new questions about how to best represent American titles within our data model. Thankfully, WPHP contributing scholar Dr. Melissa J. Homestead came to our rescue!

In Episode 9, “Transatlantic Trajectories,” hosts Kate Moffatt and Kandice Sharren introduce listeners to some of the joys and hiccups of the recent American import by way of a lively chat with Dr. Melissa J. Homestead about women’s American and transatlantic publishing. In it, we discuss transatlantic authors Susanna Rowson and Catharine Maria Sedgwick, as well as American copyright and its intricacies during the period, how studying book history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries can inform similar research in the twentieth, and the altar of chronology (with a special focus on Willa Cather and Edith Lewis, too!). 

Guest:

Melissa J. Homestead is Professor of English and Program Faculty in Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Having worked on authors from Susanna Rowson to Willa Cather, she considers her field to be American women’s writing, authorship, and publishing history of the very long nineteenth century. She is the author of American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822-1869 (Cambridge University Press 2005) and The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather and Edith Lewis (Oxford University Press 2021). She is Associate Editor of The Complete Letters of Willa Cather: A Digital Edition (ongoing), has collaborated on bibliographies of the works of Catharine Maria Sedgwick and E. D. E. N. Southworth, serves as President of the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society, and is a member of the Board of Governors of the National Willa Cather Center. Cather expressed less than complimentary opinions in print about Southworth but, alas, she evidently never heard of Sedgwick. 

 

Credits:

Produced by: Kandice Sharren, Kate Moffatt, and Michelle Levy

Mixed and mastered by: Alexander Kennard

Music by: Ignatius Sancho, “Sweetest Bard”, A Collection of New Songs (1769) from https://brycchancarey.com/sancho/bard.jpg, and played by Kandice Sharren

 

WPHP Spotlights Referenced:

“The Transatlantic Publication of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (Amanda Law)


WPHP Monthly Mercury Episodes Referenced:

Season 2, Episode 8: “Mary Hays, Mapped”


WPHP Records Referenced:

Phillis Wheatley (person. author)

Catharine Maria Sedgwick (person, author)

Susanna Rowson (person, author)

Charlotte. A Tale of Truth. (title)

Hope Leslie; or Early Times in the Massachusetts (title)

Mathew Carey (firm, publisher)

Maria Edgeworth (person, author)

Mary Russell Mitford (person, author)

Trials of the Human Heart (title)

John Miller (firm, publisher)

Edward Moxon (firm, publisher)

Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley (firm, publisher)

A.K. Newman and Co. (firm, publisher)

James Fenimore Cooper (person, author)

 

Works Cited:

Damon-Bach, Lucinda L, Allison J. Roepsch, and Melissa J. Homestead. “Chronological Bibliography of the Works of Catharine Maria Sedgwick.” Catharine Maria Sedgwick: Critical Perspectives, edited by Lucinda L. Damon-Bach and Victoria Clements. Northeastern UP, 2002, pp. 295-313.

Homestead, Melissa J. “The Transatlantic Village: The Rise and Fall of the Epistolary Friendship of Catharine Maria Sedgwick and Mary Russell Mitford.” Edinburgh Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Letters and Letter-Writing, edited by Celeste-Marie Bernier, Judie Newman and Matthew Pethers, Edinburgh UP, 2016, pp. 538-553.

Homestead, Melissa J. “American Novelist Catharine Sedgwick Negotiates British Copyright, 1822-57.” Yearbook of English Studies, no. 45, 2015, pp. 196-215.

Homestead, Melissa J. The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather and Edith Lewis. Oxford UP, 2021.

Homestead, Melissa J. American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822-1869. Cambridge UP, 2005.

Kirkham, E. Bruce and John W. Fink. Indices to American Literary Annuals and Gift Books, 1825-1865. New Haven, 1975.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom's Cabin, or, Life Among the Lowly. J.P. Jewett, 1852.

Warner, Susan. The Wide, Wide World. George Putnam, 1850.

 

Further Reading:

Damon-Bach, et al. Transatlantic Women : Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers and Great Britain. Eds. Beth L. Lueck, Brigitte Bailey, and Lucinda L. Damon-Bach. U of New Hampshire P, 2012.

Everton, Michael J. The Grand Chorus of Complaint: Authors and the Business Ethics of American Publishing. Oxford UP, 2011.

Gross, Robert A. and Mary Kelly, eds. The History of the Book in America, Volume 2: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790–1840. U of North Carolina P, 2010.

Homestead, Melissa J. “The Shape of Catharine Sedgwick’s Career.” Cambridge History of American Women’s Literature. Ed. Dale Bauer. Cambridge UP, 2012, pp. 185-203.

McGill, Meredith L. American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting. U of Pennsylvania P, 2007.

Weber, Brenda R. Women and Literary Celebrity in the Nineteenth Century: the Transatlantic Production of Fame and Gender. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.

 

This podcast draws on research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.