Title

Ruth Peck Fisk: A History of Love, Faith, and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Middletown

Publication Date

April 2017

Advisor(s)

Lois Brown

Major

African American Studies

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis explores and shares the untold perspective of nineteenth-century Middletown, Connecticut through the eyes and writings of Ruth Peck Fisk. Her letters not only allow for reflection on nineteenth-century Middletown, but also on the institution of which she was a part: Wesleyan University. Her insightful observations create revealing institutional histories of the city of Middletown, of Wesleyan and of the Methodist church. Ruth Fisk’s writings focus on topics that many in the nineteenth century did not expect women to discuss. Widowed at 44 years of age, Ruth Fisk had to learn how to fend for herself and to be assertive about her desires in a world intent on ignoring her as a grieving widow, as a mother and most importantly, as a woman. This thesis is a history of love, faith, and politics and is informed by Ruth Fisk’s devotion to documenting all three in the nineteenth century.

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