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“WITH PEACE AND FREEDOM BLEST!” WOMAN AS SYMBOL IN AMERICA, 1590-1800

1. Quoted in Linda Kerber, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980; HQ1418.K47 GenColl), 205.[back]

2. Thomas Hariot, A Briefe and True Report of . . . Virginia (Frankfurt, 1590; F229.H27 1590 Rosenwald Coll item 723 RBSC). De Bry published this edition in four languages-Latin, English, French, and German. For the entire compilation, see Theodor de Bry, Historia Americae sive Novi Orbis (Frankfurt, 1624; G159.B7 Rosenwald Coll item 1309 RBSC).[back]

3. “For mankind they say a woman was made first, which by the working of one of the goddes, conceiued and brought foorth children: And in such sort they say they had their beginning.” Hariot, A Briefe and True Report . . . , De Bry's 1590 edition with an introduction by Paul Hulton (New York: Dover Publications, 1972; F229.H27 1972 GenColl), 25. [back]

4. A census of the editions of de Bry's works found in the Rosenwald Collection appears in A Catalog of the Gifts of Lessing J. Rosenwald (Washington: Library of Congress, 1977; Z881.U5 1977 RBSC, MRR Alc, G&M), 236-39.[back]

5. See Pamela Scott, Temple of Liberty: Building the Capitol for a New Nation (New York: Oxford University Press with the Library of Congress, 1995; NA4412.W18 S37 1995 GenColl), 9-17, 108-11.[back]

6. See in particular E. McClung Fleming, “The American Image as Indian Princess, 1765-1783,” Winterthur Portfolio 2 (1965), 65-81 (N9.W52 GenColl), and “From Indian Princess to Greek Goddess: The American Image, 1783-1815,” ibid., 3 (1966), 37-66.[back]

7. Hans Staden's enormously popular account of his trials among the Tupinamba Indians as well as his woodcuts can be seen in The True History of His Captivity, 1557, translated and edited by Malcolm Letts (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1928; F2528.S753 Gen Coll).[back]

8. Amerigo Vespucci's Mundus novus (Paris, 1503-4?; facsim., Paris: 14-L1661-END 10/25/01 6:11 PM Page 381 Fontaine, n.d.; Strassburg: J.H.E. Heitz, 1903; E125.V5 V523 RBSC, Gen-Coll). In the classical tradition, cartographer Martin Waldseemüller gave the feminized version of Vespucci's baptismal name to the vast new continent. Earlier Spanish explorers believed, as Columbus did, that the continent was part of eastern Asia, referring to it as the Indies.[back]

9. The new continent began to be represented as a naked Indian maiden with severed heads and other signs of cannibalism as early as 1575. See Clare Le Corbeiller, “Miss America and Her Sisters: Personifications of the Four Parts of the World,” Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, April 1961 (N610.A4 GenColl), and Hugh Honour, The New Golden Land: European Images of America from the Discoveries to the Present Time (New York: Pantheon Books, 1975; N8214.5.U6 H58 1975 GenColl).[back]

10. This indictment of women's sensuality was embedded in the Eve stereotype, the sexual interpretation of the Fall. Malleus maleficarum, the crudely misogynistic and dangerous Dominican treatise on witchcraft published in about 1486, asserted that “all witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which in women is insatiable. . . . Wherefore for the sake of fulfilling their lusts they consort even with devils.” John Phillips, Eve: The History of an Idea (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1984; BS580.E85 P48 1984 GenColl), 62-70.[back]

11. “Insula hyspana,” in Carlo Verardi, Historia Baetica ([Basel], 1494; Incun. 1494.V47 Voll H15942 RBSC).[back]

12. De Bry had intended to publish Le Moyne's account of Laudonnière's ill-fated Huguenot colony in Florida as the first part of his America for, as he said in the foreword to the Virginia plates, the Florida account “should bee first sett foorthe because yt was discouuered by the Frencheman longe befor the discuerye of Virginia.” De Bry said in a brief notice in his Florida that he had acquired Le Moyne's drawings from his widow after his death in 1587.[back]

13. The only surviving watercolor by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, showing the Timucua Indians worshiping a column, was rediscovered at a French chateau in 1901 and is now at the New York Public Library. It shows that de Bry's translation to a copper plate is remarkably precise and that Le Moyne had already Europeanized the women worshipers.[back]

14. Hariot, A Briefe and True Report (1590). See note 2. British maritime editor Richard Hakluyt probably persuaded de Bry, when he came to London in 1588 to buy some paintings by French artist Jacques Le Moyne, to publish Hariot's and John White's work first, maybe because White's patron, Sir Walter Raleigh, had offered financial support to promote the Virginia volume. Paul Hulton, America 1585: The Complete Drawings of John White (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press and British Museum Publications, 1984; NC242.W53 A4 1984 GenColl), 17.[back]

15. W. John Faupel has juxtaposed reproductions of the watercolors with the relevant engravings and provides a convincing analysis of the changes made by de Bry. Faupel, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia: A Study of the De Bry Engravings (East Grinstead, West Sussex, England: Antique Atlas Publications, 1989; G159.B8 F38 1989 GenColl).[back]

16. Of particular interest is Father Joseph François Lafitau's Moeurs des Sauvages Amériquains, comparées aux Moeurs des premiers temps (Paris, 1724; E58.L16 RBSC, MicRR) in which he draws heavily on earlier accounts and illustrations of American Indians, including de Bry's, to make comparisons with peoples of the classical and preclassical world, or “primitive times.” His most original work comes from his observations of the Iroquois, among whom he lived as a Jesuit missionary. According to William N. Fenton and Elizabeth L. Moore, in their translation of Lafitau's classic work and exhaustive examination of his sources (Customs of the American Indians Compared with the Customs of Primitive Times, 2 vols. [Toronto: Champlain Society, 1974-77; E58. L1613 GenColl]), Lafitau was the first to describe the importance of women in Iroquoian tribal life in a chapter on the origin of the peoples of America (I:69-70). In a section on the Iroquois creation myth, he shows the similarities between the biblical story of the expulsion from Paradise and the Iroquois legend of a woman who is cast out of the heavens for being too easily seduced by one of the original six men on earth and becomes the mother of two children who fight one another (I:81-84). William Sturtevant contributed a chapter on “The Sources of Lafitau's American Illustrations”(I:271-97), many of which he traced to de Br y's engravings.[back]

17. Cottonus Matherus S. theologiae doctor regia societatis Londone. . . ., 1727. Mezzotint by Peter Pelham, 1728 (restrike, 1860; FP—XVIII—P383, no.1). P&P. LC-USZC4-4597. As members of the newly prosperous merchant and landed classes began to acquire the material evidence of their success during the eighteenth century, their wives, dressed in the height of London or Paris elegance, were themselves depicted as status symbols in painted portraits (these are not collected by the Library).[back]

18. Sara M. Evans, Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America (New York: The Free Press, 1989; HQ1410.E83 1989 GenColl),11, 22. Under French civil law adopted by Spain, Spanish colonial women were allowed to own land but in other ways were regarded no differently from other European women (see Property Law in the Law Library section).[back]

19. Father Joseph François Lafitau's early eighteenth-century observations on the importance of women in the Iroquois tribe (see note 16) are confirmed and elaborated on in William C. Sturtevant, gen. ed., Handbook of North American Indians (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1978-98; E77.H25 MRR Alc), vol. 15, Northeast, 309.[back]

20. See Carol F. Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1987; BF1576.K37 1987 GenColl), 179-80. [back]

21. This is the central thesis of another classic, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983; HQ1438.A11 U42 1983 GenColl).[back]

22. Phillips, Eve, 95.[back]

23. See in particular the story of Sor Maria de Jesús de Agreda, who, in the 1620s, when not yet twenty years old, was seen on several occasions to levitate following Communion at her remote convent in Spain. She reported that she was carried by angels to preach to Indian tribes in today's New Mexico although she never left her convent. After Franciscan missionaries brought back to Spain testimony by Indians that they had been converted by a beautiful lady in blue, Sor Maria became a focus of the Inquisition. Mary E. Giles, ed., Women in the Inquisition: Spain and the New World (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999; BX1735.W59 1999 Gen Coll), 155-70.[back]

24. Examples of captivity narratives can be found in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, the General Collections, and the Microform Reading Room.[back]

25. Numerous examples can be seen in Donald H. Cresswell, comp., The American Revolution in Drawings and Prints: A Checklist of 1765-1790 Graphics in the Library of Congress (Washington: Library of Congress, 1975; E209.U54 1974 P&P, MRRAlc, G&M, GenColl).[back]

26. Marina Warner, Monuments & Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form (New York: Atheneum, 1985; NX650.F45 W3 1985 GenColl), 64. Thus, Uncle Sam and Brother Jonathan, the male symbols for America, were designed to typify the average American, whereas Liberty and Britannia obviously do not typify the average American or English woman.[back]

27. George Richardson's Iconology; or, A Collection of Emblematical Figures, 2 vols. (London: Printed by G. Scott,1779; N7740.R515 Rosenwald Coll RBSC; reprint ed., New York: Garland Pub., 1979; N7740.R515 1979 Gen Coll), Richardson stated in his introduction that the source of images for abstract ideas and qualities drawn from classical myths and saints calendars was exhausted. He wanted to expand the range of the standard repertoire for new times, to aid modern artists by incorporating Poussin's and Raphael's innovations and new concepts such as “Democracy,” “Liberty,” and “America.” Martha Banta, Imaging American Women: Idea and Ideals in Cultural History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987; NX652.W6 B36 1987 GenColl), 412. Richardson's work includes an Indian woman as America, “The fourth and last part of the world . . .” (Iconology, vol. 1, fig. 6).[back]

28. John Higham explains that Britannia was shown with the attributes of liberty in England before that symbol was adopted by the rebellious American colonists, and then Americanized following the Declaration of Independence (Higham, “Indian Princess and Roman Goddess: The First Female Symbols of America,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society (1990), 59-61 (E172.A35 GenColl). See Cresswell, American Revolution in Drawings and Prints, 638, for an etching by G. B. Cipriani after a drawing by F. Bartolozzi of such a Britannia, originally published in William Bollan, Continued Corruption, Standing Armies, and Popular Contents Considered (London: Printed by J. Almon, 1768; E211.B68).[back]

29. See for instance, Pierre Eugène du Simitière's design for the title page of the 1775 issue of the Pennsylvania Magazine (AP2.A2 P4 RBSC) showing the goddess America with the implements of liberty and war (Cresswell, American Revolution in Drawings and Prints, 691; LC-USZ62-45557). The following year, as independence was declared, du Simitière proposed a design for the U.S. seal with a standing Liberty figure.[back]

30. Highham, “Indian Princess,” 24.[back]

31. See Yvonne Korsak, “The Liberty Cap as a Revolutionary Symbol in America and France,” Smithsonian Studies in American Art I:2 (Fall 1987), 53 (N6505.S56 GenColl).[back]

32. The Pennsylvania Evening Post of July 2, 1776, is available in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Room. Some copies of original newspaper advertisements in the Serial Division collections and broadsides from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division can be studied in the Prints and Photographs Division (LOT 4422A: LC-USZ62-10293 [picture], -10474,-16876). See Barbara E. Lacey, “Visual Images of Blacks in Early American Imprints,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d series, 53: I(January 1996) (F221 .W71 GenColl). [back]

33. Britain, America, at Length Be Friends, from the London Magazine, January 1774 [picture] (microfilm 01105, reel 205; Cresswell, American Revolution in Drawings and Prints, 662; LC-USZ62-45498). This allegorical image can be contrasted with the active trading image of male Indians presenting goods for barter to merchants in the cartouche for Pensylvania Nova Jersey es Nova York in Tobias Lotter, Atlas Géographique (Nuremberg, 1778; Cresswell, American Revolution in Drawings and Prints, 743; G1015.L7 1778 Vault G&M; LC-USZ62-46069).[back]

34. Microfilm 01103, reel 26 AP; Cresswell, American Revolution in Drawings and Prints, 664; LC-USZ62-39592.[back]

35. Other examples of women's patriotic activism before and during the Revolutionary War can be followed in newspapers, broadsides, and letters of the period, e.g, a Boston Evening Post, February 12, 1770, report that more than three hundred “Mistresses of Families” had promised “totally to abstain from the Use of TEA” (no. 1794, page 4) (N&CPR). See Kerber, Women of the Republic, chap. 2, “'Women Invited to War': Sacrifice and Survival,” 33-67, for many other examples.[back]

36. See essay by Rosemary Plakas and Kerber, Women of the Republic, 104.[back]

37. Ibid., 228-31. For the first time, it was made overtly clear that a “woman's place” was in the home, the beginning of the cult of domesticity.[back]

38. See Carroll Smith Rosenbert, “Dis-Covering the Subject of the 'Great Constitutional Discussion,' 1786-1789,” Journal of American History 79 (December 1992), 841-73 (E171.J87 Gen Coll), for an analysis of the complex ideology behind new allegorical representations of America, particularly those in Columbian Magazine, or Monthly Miscellany (AP2.A2 U6 RBSC, Microfilm 01103, no. II AP MicRR).[back]

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