Boston’s early history chronicled in new book edited by Notre Dame political scientist

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A previously unpublished manuscript written by Hannah Mather Crocker (1752-1829), an early women’s rights advocate, has been edited by Eileen Hunt Botting, University of Notre Dame political scientist, and published as “Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston” (New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011).

Crocker was descended from a long line of Puritan activists, including her grandfather, Cotton Mather, known for his role in the Salem Witch Trials. One of Crocker’s most important contributions as an essayist was her 1818 book “Observations on the Real Rights of Women,” in which she argued that education was crucial to the advancement of women.

Based on the manuscript found on Crocker’s desk after her death in 1829, “Reminiscences” chronicles the history of Boston from its founding by the Puritans in 1630 through the events of the American Revolution and the War of 1812. The manuscript was housed at the New England Historic Genealogical Society for some 130 years.

With an emphasis on the contributions of women to the founding of Boston, the book includes Crocker’s first-hand accounts of the events leading up to the Revolution and the Siege of Boston, as well as a chronicle of Puritan law; interactions with the British, French and Native Americans; the establishment of Boston churches and the city’s economic growth.

Botting is a professor of political science and a fellow in Notre Dame’s "Kroc Institute for Peace Studies ": and Nanovic Institute for European Studies. Her areas of specialty include American political thought, feminist political thought and liberalism.

Contact: Eileen Hunt Botting,, 574-631-5051

Originally published by Susan Guibert at on May 05, 2011.