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H-SHEAR is dedicated to enhancing scholarly communication on the history of the early American republic, during the period 1775 to 1860. The network is owned by H-Net, Humanities & Social Sciences Online, currently centered at Michigan State University.  Click here to learn more...


The latest from H-SHEAR...

A Statement from Gale Regarding MLA International Bibliography Moving to EBSCO as Sole Provider

Your network editor has reposted this from H-Announce. The byline reflects the original authorship.

[H-SHEAR ed. note (PBK): Because the MLA International Bibliography covers subjects and authors within the period encompassed by our network, this announcement (and the link to MLA's announcement) will be of interest to readers working at libraries that carry the database through other vendors.]

3 weeks until SHEAR

SHEAR Conference News

Dear SHEARites, only three weeks until we meet in Cleveland for our 40th annual conference!  If you have pre-registered, thank you.  If you haven’t, please pre-register today at https://shear.ticketleap.com/2018-shear-annual-meeting/details.  Pre-registration closes next week on 5 July, so if you miss the window you will have to register on-site using

Re: Lunacy Inquisitions in Early American Literature


I want to direct you to a fantastic 2008 undergraduate thesis at Arizona State University titled "Identity & Madness: Insanity in a Slaveholding Society, 1790-1860" by Theresa Williams. She focused on the lunacy inquest, and comparable civil records she found in the Race and Slavery Petitions Project.

Lunacy Inquisitions in Early American Literature?

Greetings Early Americanists,

For my dissertation I am studying lunacy trials in early America, particularly where landowners would be deemed insane and have their possessions assigned to a guardian or committee, usually in Chancery Court. I am also interested in cases where the reason for insanity was deemed to to be excessive drinking or intemperance. Do you know of any references to such trials in early American fictional literature?


David Korostyshevsky