Sarah Osborn's World

Sarah Osborn's World

The Rise of Evangelical Christianity in Early America

By Catherine A. Brekus

Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300182903, 432pp.

Publication Date: January 8, 2013


In 1743, sitting quietly with pen in hand, Sarah Osborn pondered how to tell the story of her life, how to make sense of both her spiritual awakening and the sudden destitution of her family. Remarkably, the memoir she created that year survives today, as do more thantwo thousandadditional pages she composed over the following three decades. "Sarah Osborn's World" is the first book to mine this remarkable woman's prolific personal and spiritual record. Catherine Brekus recovers the largely forgotten story of Sarah Osborn's life as one of the most charismatic female religious leaders of her time, while also connecting her captivating story to the risingevangelical movement in eighteenth-century America.

A schoolteacher in Rhode Island, a wife, and a mother, Sarah Osbornled a remarkable revival in the 1760s that brought hundreds of people, including many slaves, to her house each week. Her extensive written record encompassing issues ranging from the desire to be "born again" to a suspicion of capitalism provides a unique vantage point from which to view the emergence of evangelicalism. Brekus sets Sarah Osborn's experience in the context of her revivalist era and expands our understanding of the birth of the evangelical movement a movement that transformed Protestantism in the decadesbefore the American Revolution.

About the Author
Catherine A. Brekus is associate professor of the history of Christianity at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She is author of "Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740-1845" and editor of "The Religious History of American Women: Reimagining the Past".