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Women and Finance in Colonial Newport

October 14 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


We often attribute women’s financial power to the gains of the modern feminist movement. Yet, as far back as the colonial period, women’s borrowing and lending actively facilitated the rise of port cities, including Newport, Rhode Island. Damiano will discuss eighteenth-century Newport women’s use of personal credit and debt, a cornerstone of the period’s financial system. Newport women including Temperance Grant, a leading shopkeeper, and Ann Maylem, a widow who waged protracted legal battles with her late husband’s business partners, were among those women who navigated the complexities of credit, debt, and the courts to advance the interests of themselves and their families. Attendees will learn how these and other women mobilized sophisticated skills and strategies as borrowers, lenders, litigants, and witnesses, ultimately contributing to the growth of early America’s legal and economic institutions.

This talk is drawn from Damiano’s new book, To Her Credit: Women, Finance, and the Law In Eighteenth-Century New England Cities (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021).
Sara Damiano is a historian of women and gender in early America. She earned her PhD from Johns Hopkins University and is currently an Assistant Professor of History at Texas State University. Her research examines women’s participation in eighteenth-century economies and legal systems. She has published articles and essays in the New England Quarterly, Early American Studies, the William and Mary Quarterly, and Public Seminar. She conducted research at the Newport Historical Society when she was writing To Her Credit.

Zoom lecture, free
Advance registration required, email esulock@newporthistory.org
Book is available for purchase through the NHS museum shop


October 14
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Tags:


Newport Historical Society