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Female Husbands and their Doctors: The Case of James Allen, 1829

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

People who were assigned the female sex at birth and lived as men throughout the 19th century often feared and avoided doctors. Doctors might ruin their lives by reporting them to the authorities for living in a gender that was different from their sex. Even after death, coroners who reported the sex of their subjects threw the lives of surviving family members and friends into a frenzy of chaos and speculation. James Allen and Abigail Naylor married in 1807, living together until Allen’s death in a workplace accident at a London shipyard in 1829. The talk is based on a series of documents archived by the Center for the History of Medicine

Jen Manion is Associate Professor of History at Amherst College and author of Liberty's Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) which received the 2016 Mary Kelley Best Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. Manion is co-editor of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (Routledge, 2004) and has published nearly three dozen essays and reviews in U.S. histories of gender and sexuality. Jen is the recipient of over a dozen fellowships, including one from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a current project on transgender histories in the long nineteenth-century. Manion received a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in history from Rutgers University.