Often a biographer confronts silences in the record of her subject, when part of the life story is not documented with words. Mute sources—objects in the subject’s archive—can pose a challenge for interpretation, but also offer rich opportunities. How can biographers read objects as eloquent sources?
Panelists include Deborah Lutz, whose book The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects is a biography of the sisters centered on the humble objects they owned. Susan Ware, author of the forthcoming Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, is using artifacts from the Schlesinger Library’s collections in her group biography of suffrage activists. Karen Sanchez-Eppler is writing In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past, viewing children’s lives from material things. Natalie Dykstra, author of Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life, will moderate.
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