“Irish Merchant Princess and Abolitionist: The Story of Isabel Jennings”

Supported by a 2015-16 independent study leave, Professor of English Patricia Ferreira completed a 10,000-word independent article, titled Leaving Frederick Douglass’s Arm: Isabel Jennings on Her Own, and submitted it for publication consideration to Nineteenth Century Literature. Prof. Ferreira fully researched the context for the material artifacts she has acquired relating to Jennings’s life. She also drafted a book proposal for a feminist biography of her subject for Cork University Press and met with the director while in Ireland. She has nearly completed drafting a book-length manuscript which, once accepted for publication, will serve as the culmination of her work on Jennings. While very proud of her accomplishments during her independent study leave, Prof. Ferreira is most gratified by what she has learned in the process: how the industrialism of the 19th-century was centrally linked to the social reform of the era; how women’s philanthropic work in the early part of the century was an important stepping stone to their demands for equal rights, including the right to vote, in the later part of the century and the beginning of the next; how Irish women were an integral part of the anti-slavery campaign and the way Jennings distinguished herself as a leader.

Editor’s note: Independent study leaves constitute the University’s sabbatical program, with awards based on scholarly proposals for projects intended to enhance the professional effectiveness of faculty through study, research, writing, travel related to professional development, and/or practical experience in the faculty member’s field.

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