Articles & Book Chapters
“The ‘Perfect Delight’ of Dramatic Reading: Gertrude Kellogg and the Post–Civil War Lyceum”
In Thinking Together: Lecturing, Learning, and Difference in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Angela G. Ray and Paul Stobb. Pennsylvania State University Press, 2018. Explore more at thinkingtogetherbook.com.
“Bringing Music to the Lyceumites: The Bureaus and the Transformation of Lyceum Entertainment”
"How Love Conquered a Convent: Catholicism and Gender Disorder on the 1830s Stage"
Commonplace: the journal of early American Life (September 2022)
Learn about an early comic opera that intersected with American anti-Catholicism, featuring another mainstay of the early 1800s stage, female breeches acting.
"'The Presence of Improper Females' Reforming Theater in Boston and Providence, 1820-1840."
New England Quarterly (September 2021)
A new consideration of the changing place of sex work in early US theaters. This examination of the class and gender politics of theater reform in Boston, MA and Providence, RI in the 1820s-1840s reveals how both regulatory campaigns and Christian or moral reform mobilized constructions of the prostitute as predator while encouraging new policing of working women.
"'Thy First Temple in the Far, Far West!' Re/Shaping Theater in St. Louis, MO 1837-1839."
Ohio Valley History (Summer 2018)
In July 1837, a correspondent for the New York sporting paper the Spirit of the Times...informed its readers that “the first Temple of the Drama West of the Mississippi"...had been “thrown open to the people of the ‘Far West’ on Monday last.” This article examines struggles over the culture of spectatorship and type of entertainments in 1830s St. Louis. These contests echoed similar debates nationwide but also reflected anxieties over the identity of St. Louis relative to the nation.
Read more: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/699708
"Black Swan/White Raven: the racial politics of Elizabeth Greenfield’s American concert career, 1851-1855."
American Nineteenth Century History 17, no. 1 (2016)
In 1851, the former slave turned singer Elizabeth Greenfield traveled from her home of Philadelphia to Buffalo, New York, to pursue a career as a concert singer. This article explores the terms and reception of Greenfield’s tours of the northern United States and Upper Canada in the early 1850s, where she performed before predominantly white audiences. While white critics celebrated Greenfield in highly racialized terms as an untrained natural wonder, black activists like Frederick Douglass focused on the racist management of her career and criticized Greenfield for the segregation of her concerts. Told through analysis of reviews and promotional literature, the story of Greenfield’s early career makes visible the race and gender politics operating at the intersection of popular entertainment and black movements for racial uplift and equality in the antebellum North.
"Fanny Davenport, Frances Aymar Mathews, and the Play that Failed."
Princeton University Library Chronicle 73, no. 2 (Winter 2012)
THIS is the story of a play. It is the story of a fantasy of female heroism created by two women, one a prominent celebrity of the late nineteenth-century American stage, the other a struggling writer dreaming of her first commercial success. And it is also the story of a play that failed. In the summer of 2010, I set out to research the career of actress-manager Fanny Davenport (1850–1898) in the Fanny Davenport Collection in the Princeton University Library. In the process, I discovered the life and dreams of playwright Frances Aymar Mathews (1865– 1925). In 1896, Fanny Davenport commissioned Mathews to write a play for her based on the life of Joan of Arc.