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Philadelphia  |  Wednesday May 9

Lecture   Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World

The Union League of Philadelphia    140 South Broad Street  |  6:30 PM

photo of the lecturer Dr. Zara Anishanslin
Historian and Professor

Zara Anishanslin is a historian and professor specializing in Early American and Atlantic World History, with a focus on 18th-century material culture.

She received her PhD in the History of American Civilization at the University of Delaware in 2009, where her dissertation won the prize for Best Dissertation in the Humanities. In 2011, it also won the University of Pennsylvania's Zuckerman Prize, a national award for the Best Dissertation in American Studies.

From 2009 to 2010, Zara was the Patrick Henry Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University. From 2013 to 2014, she was a Mellon Fellow in the Center for the Humanities at CUNY's Graduate Center, and spent 2014 to 2015 as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the New-York Historical Society.

Zara has taught at CUNY and Columbia University, and since 2016, she has been Assistant Professor of History and Art History at the University of Delaware. She was a Royal Oak Foundation Scholar at The Attingham Trust's 2017 Attingham Summer School.

Her recent book, Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World, published in 2016 by Yale University Press was a finalist for 2017 Best First Book Prize, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians.

Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World

lecture photo

While looking through silks in the Textile Study Room of London's Victoria & Albert Museum, historian Zara Anishanslin was struck by similarities between mid-18th century English silks and a dress featured in a portrait by Robert Feke hanging at the Winterthur Museum.

From her discovery, Zara began to research and explore the cultural history of the 18th century British Atlantic world, where dresses like the one pictured often declared the social, economic and political capital of the wearer.

Her resulting story revolves around the mid-18th-century silk dress from the portrait and involves the famed English designer of its pattern, Anna Maria Garthwaite; the Spitalfields weaver of the fabric, Simon Julins; the wealthy American owner of the dress, Anne Shippen Willing; and the portrait artist, Robert Feke.

Tracing the full biographies of this network of four people, Zara ultimately uncovered a whole world of hidden histories of thousands of people, things, ideas, and events connected to this portrait of a woman from one of most powerful families in the Colonies.

Zara will show how this dress demonstrates the popularity of botanical designs in fashion, and discuss how the production and selling of such goods in the 18th-century British Atlantic marketplace created a consumer community that tied all of its inhabitants together.

Philadelphia  |  Wednesday May 9

Lecture   Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World

The Union League of Philadelphia    140 South Broad Street  |  6:30 PM

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A cash bar reception preceeds the lecture at 6:00 PM

Co-Sponsors
American Friends of Attingham
The English Speaking Union of Philadelphia
FREEMAN'S
Institute for Classical Architecture & Art - Philadelphia Chapter
The Union League of Philadelphia - The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of the Union League of Philadelphia
Oxford and Cambridge Society of Philadelphia
The Colonial Dames of America




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