Class Year


Document Type


Date of Creation

Fall 2018

Department 1

First Year Seminar


Foreword by Professor Suzanne J. Flynn

I have taught the first-year seminar, Shakespeare’s Sisters, several times, and over the years I have brought the seminar’s students to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. There, the wonderful librarians have treated the students to a special exhibit of early women’s manuscripts and first editions, beginning with letters written by Elizabeth I and proceeding through important works by seventeen and eighteenth-century women authors such as Aemelia Lanyer, Anne Finch, Aphra Behn, and Mary Wollstonecraft. This year I worked with Carolyn Sautter, the Director of Special Collections and College Archives, to give my 2018 seminar students the opportunity to produce a sequel to the Folger exhibit of early modern women writers. Special Collections houses an impressive array of first editions from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many of them acquired from Thomas Y. Cooper, the former editor of the Hanover Evening Sun newspaper, who donated over 1600 items to Musselman Library in 1965.

Working with Kerri Odess-Harnish, we chose first editions of eight significant works of literature written by American and British women from the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. The students worked in pairs, researching a single book and producing a report that outlines important biographical facts about the author, the book’s publication and reception history, and finally the significance of the book in the years since its publication. We hope that our project will draw attention to the wealth of literary treasures housed in Special Collections at Musselman Library, but especially to these works by eight of “Shakespeare’s Sisters.”


A project by the students of “Shakespeare’s Sisters,” a First-Year Seminar Fall 2018.