Sunday, January 07, 2007

"Two New Londons: Frances Caulkins and the New London Ladies’ Seamen’s Friend Society"

(Photo: The Shaw Mansion Historic House Museum)
January 14, 2007, 2 PM - New London Historical Society

Dr. Nancy Steenburg, presenting new research based on our manuscript collection: “Two New Londons: Frances Caulkins and the New London Ladies’ Seamen’s Friend Society".
In the 1840s, women of New London, including historian Frances Manwaring Caulkins, founded a Ladies’ Seamen’s Friend Society to aid indigent and injured sailors. At first glance the Society seemed to have laudable goals in providing a safety net for local seamen. Yet a majority of members were the wives, daughters, or sisters of the men who owned the major whaling and shipping companies in the city. Were the charity efforts of the ladies merely a salve for the consciences of their menfolk, or did the women of New London have their own agenda of reform?

Steenburg is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point. She received her AB from Harvard, MA from Trinity College, and PhD from the University of Connecticut, all in history. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowship grants, and has published widely on Connecticut history subjects. Her 2005 book, Children and the Criminal Law in Connecticut, 1635-1855: Changing Perceptions of Childhood, was recently recognized as the year’s best book on Connecticut history by the Association for the Study of Connecticut History.

Dr. Steenburg is currently working on a biography of Frances Caulkins, a pioneering female historian, whose collected papers are part of our collection. The Society, planning a new edition of Caulkins’ unmatched 1860 work, History of New London, has called upon Steenburg’s expertise to write a new introduction to the republished book. The Second Sunday presentation will share photographs and images that will provide a rare view of 19th-century New London.

Refreshments will follow the lecture. Admission is free for members of the historical society, $5 for others.

Shaw Mansion is located at 11 Blinman Street, New London, near the intersection of Bank and Tilley Streets.

Second Sunday programs are the regular adult lecture series offered as a benefit of membership in the New London County Historical Society, and are held on the second Sundays of most months. Program admisson is free for members and $5 per person for non-members. For further information, please contact the Society at 860-443-1209.

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