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Riveting and eloquent, the collected writings of a key figure—and one of the first female leaders—of the eighteenth-century evangelical movement
Sarah Osborn (1714–1796) was one of the most charismatic female religious leaders of her time and one of relatively few colonial women whose writings have been preserved. This volume reprints selections from Osborn’s fascinating manuscripts, including her memoir, letters, and diaries.
An evangelical Christian who led popular revival meetings at her own home, Osborn was also a gifted writer who recorded the story of her life. In thousands of pages of manuscripts, Osborn chronicled her personal struggles alongside the great events of her age, including the Great Awakening, the French and Indian War, the moral crisis posed by slavery, and the American Revolution. A rare opportunity to hear an early American woman speak about her faith and her religious leadership, this masterfully edited work is also an invaluable resource for understanding the rise of evangelical Christianity.
“A freshly transcribed, organized, and edited collection of the currently available Osborn writings . . . [which] ought to be required reading for any student not only of early American women’s history, but also for students of American religious history, intellectual history, literary history, and social history, who should not neglect this effort to recover such an important voice.”—Hannah Nation, Reading Religion
“Osborn’s writings will be of immense interest to those in early American studies, religious studies, and gender studies. . . . In providing this edition, Brekus continues the work of recovering Osborn as an important historical and religious figure and enabling transformative scholarship about her and her community.”—Catherine Wigginton, New England Quarterly
"Once you begin to read Sarah Osborn, you will find yourself carrying her voice with you. She is an incomparably humane and bracing observer of her changing world."—Kathryn Lofton, Yale University
“Osborn’s compositions are both gripping and intellectually stimulating, and it is remarkable that they have never appeared before in this kind of scholarly volume.”—Thomas S. Kidd, Baylor University
“In Catherine Brekus, Sarah Osborn has found a capable and sensitive historian. Brekus’s presentation allows readers to encounter Sarah Osborn as a human being with all her hopes and fears in a life that saw more than its share of suffering. Osborn nevertheless emerges from these pages as a figure of tremendous strength and character.”—Bruce Hindmarsh, author of The Evangelical Conversion Narrative
“In a magnificent biography, Catherine Brekus introduced readers to the life of Sarah Osborn. In this generous and beautifully-edited anthology, she has done even more. To use Osborn's own words, she has managed "to roll the work of instruction" into the hands of others. Teachers, scholars, specialists, and general readers can now discover Osborn and her world on their own.”—Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, author of A Midwife's Tale