128. A Connecticut Historian Makes History: Recovering Phyllis Wheatley's Lost Years

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By Walter Woodward and Connecticut Explored, State Historian, and Connecticut Explored. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

A Connecticut Historian Makes History: Recovering Phyllis Wheatley’s Lost Years

UCONN legal historian Cornelia Hughes Dayton was searching through Massachusetts Court cases from the 1700s, working on a project involving mental disabilities in early America, when she came upon a find that was itself history-making: a cache of court cases that illuminate the formerly “missing years” in the life of America’s first published African American author and the mother of the African-American literary tradition Phyllis Wheatley Peters. Dayton discusses her discovery of the court cases and their many revelations, as recounted in her just published and prize-winning article Lost Years Recovered: John Peters and Phillis Wheatley Peters in Middleton,” New England Quarterly 94 (September 2021): 309-351.

Watch for the release of primary source documents from the "Middleton dossier" on the the Wheatley Peters Project website (forthcoming). Track its progress at the Twitter account #Wheatley_Peters.

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