On Incredible Women and a Story Too Good to Pass Up—Ann Little, Colorado State University

silhouette of a nun praying
Photo credit: Dieter_G from Pixabay

Ann Little is a professor of history at Colorado State University who specializes in the history of women, gender, and sexuality, with a focus on early North America. She is the author of two books, most recently The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright. Published by Yale University Press, it won the 2018 Albert B. Corey Prize, awarded jointly by the American Historical Association and the Canadian Historical Association for the best book dealing with the history of Canadian-American relations or the history of both countries.

Born in 1696 in New England, Esther Wheelwright was captured by Wabanaki Indians when she was seven and raised by them until age 12, when she was enrolled in a French-Canadian Catholic convent. Wheelwright would eventually become the only foreign-born mother superior in the convent’s history.

Ann and host Ted Fox talked about the circumstances that would’ve given rise to an experience like Wheelwright’s, how the convent helped her carve the space to author a life that was truly unique, and why her relative anonymity today belies her prominence in colonial America.