CFP: Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society’s Roundtable (ALA; 1.25.14)

Call for Participants:  Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society’s Roundtable for ALA 2014 in Washington, D.C.

 Catharine Sedgwick in/and Washington, D.C.: A Roundtable Conversation


At least once in her lifetime, Catharine Maria Sedgwick traveled to Washington D.C. During her first known trip to the capital in January 1831, she visited the Supreme Court and the legislature, and through family friend Vice Pres. Martin Van Buren met President Jackson. She spoke with Justice Joseph Story; Chief Justice John Marshall called on her; and she was appalled by the vehemence of the Southerners’ debate in the legislature as the nullification crisis emerged. In later years she wrote to various politicians about current issues (including Cassius Clay regarding his anti-slavery scheme). Despite her ongoing interest in politics and legal issues—as early as age fourteen she joked with her father that she had “become quite a politician”—little has been said to date about her specific connections to the nation’s capital. This roundtable seeks to launch a new conversation about Sedgwick’s lifelong interest in government/legal issues, politics/political action, and writings (personal letters and/or publications), grounding our comments in primary sources and opening up new avenues for research.


Please contact Jenifer Elmore ( and/or Lucinda Damon-Bach ( if you are interested in participating in this roundtable session, briefly describing your possible contribution, by January 25, 2014. (If 5 participants come forward, each would speak for approximately 7-8 minutes, in order to preserve a full 30 minutes of the session for whole-group discussion.) Any new work on Sedgwick’s life or writing will be considered.