“To make or frame curious Figures in Wax-work”: 1/26 WGS Seminar at the MHS

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“To make or frame curious Figures in Wax-work”: Nostalgia and the Miniature in Eighteenth-Century Women’s Work

Author: Laura Earls, University of Delaware

Comment: Miriam Rich, Dartmouth College

Thursday, January 26

5:00 PM

Free, Online Event - hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society


Elite white women in the British Atlantic world commemorated transitions in their lives with shellwork grottos, shadow box scenes, dollhouses, and dolls. While these objects usually marked marriages or the births of children, they often did not depict these milestones. This dissertation chapter uses scholarship on folklore and women’s life-writing practices to assess how and why women in Boston, Philadelphia, and London created these material memoirs. Close readings of these objects illuminate the connections between women’s work, women’s bodies, and nostalgia because these things omit the sexual and racial power dynamics that shaped the lived experiences of their creators.

The History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Seminar invites you to join the conversation online on Thursday, January 26 at 5:00 PM. The seminar brings together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop pre-circulated papers. After brief remarks from the author and an assigned commentator, the discussion is opened to the floor. All are encouraged to ask questions, provide feedback on the circulated essays, and discuss the topic at hand. Our sessions are free and open to everyone. 

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