League for Innovation in the Community College 2016


Courtesy of sheratongrand.com

I’m in  Chicago for the 2016 League of Innovations Conference. I have already experienced some of the best professional development I’ve ever had after only one day of meetings, which makes for an auspicious beginning.

Yesterday was all about getting here and getting settled in. John and I left Asheville super early on Saturday and got here before noon, so we had plenty of time to explore the city. It wasn’t warm (this isn’t called the Windy City for nothing), but the sun was out, and it was a beautiful day, so we left the hotel, ate at a sandwich shop down the street from the hotel and walked down to the Navy Pier, less than a mile from our home away from home.

navy pier

Navy Pier (courtesy of Trippy Media)

According to conciergepreferred.com the Navy Pier was not developed for use by the military but was used as a housing and training facility for the Navy during both world wars. Since 1946 the pier has been used for various purposes, including the undergraduate campus of the University of Chicago, but now is mainly a recreational facility, featuring a major embarking center for city cruises and bus tours, restaurants, biking and walking paths, restaurants, music venues, a children’s museum and, of course, the Ferris wheel. Walking around the pier and down the walkways along the Chicago River was a great way to be introduced to the city.

After making it back to the hotel and getting registered for the conference, an easy process thanks to the efficiency of my college’s educational foundation staff, we relaxed in the room for a while and later enjoyed a great meal at Bongiorno’s Italian Deli and Pizzeria. We were greeted by the proprietor, sat under signed Ernie Banks photos, had excellent service, ate authentic Italian Capricciosa pizza, drank good imported Italian beer and enjoyed a nice chat with the owner, who told us how he played minor league ball in Greensboro years ago and kindly admired my beautiful double-knitted scarf that my daughter Hannah made me for Christmas. Truly a Bella Notte!


The only thing that marred the evening was that Bongiorno’s is directly across from the Trump Tower–Just can’t get shed of that guy.

Today started early. We had breakfast at the little cafe in the hotel, then John headed out to explore while I started a long day of informative and interesting sessions as the conference began. Here’s a breakdown of the sessions I attended today:

8:30-9:30–Expand Your Horizon of Inclusion: Connect with Local Communities. This session was led by Dr. Leo Parvis, Coordinator of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minnesota. He is the author of  Understanding Cultural Diversity in Today’s Complex World, now in its fifth edition. Dr. Parvis uses this textbook in the course he teaches on cultural diversity, so I bought a copy to take back to the college and share with our Inclusive Education Committee of which I am a member. An excellent presentation by one of the nation’s leaders in inclusive education.

9:45-10:45–Toward a New Ecology of Student Success: Expanding and Transforming Learning Opportunities throughout the Community College, The Cross Papers, Number 19. I have to make a confession. I did research, wrote and submitted a proposal in the 2016 Cross Papers’ competition and did not win, so I attended this session out of curiosity about the man who won this year’s competition more than anything else. I also must confess that I was humbled. Jim Riggs, who wrote this year’s monograph, gave a wonderful presentation, discussing the importance of faculty and support staff working together toward the same goals of student success–that faculty are the center of this effort because of their close contact, but that this “new ecology” must include ALL of the college–that the disconnect between these two parts of the community college must be repaired. I look forward to acquiring a copy of the monograph and bringing it back to the college and sharing it with administration, staff and fellow faculty.

11:00-12:00–How to Successfully Teach Online–Michael Corona, Business Communications Instructor, Excelsior College, NY–I didn’t learn a whole lot of new things at this session, but it was great for my spirit because it validated so much of my own online teaching practices. To hear that such an experienced and obviously successful online instructor employs many of the same strategies as I do in his online classes was inspiring. I also had a chance to network with other instructors, which is one of the main benefits of attending educational conferences.

1:00-2:00–Storytelling with Data: Telling the Tale of ALP–Facilitated by a former English instructor and a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, who, I found out later, taught at Piedmont Community College, this excellent session gave me some great ideas about how to present program data that helps elicit real change. I am looking forward to sharing this information with my supervisor and colleagues. After the session I had a nice discussion about ALP (Accelerated Learning Program) with Dawn Coleman,  the grad student who used to teach in North Carolina.

2:15-3:15–Life During Community College: Your Guide to Success–Terry Arndt, College Transition Publishing. This was another validating session, but I also was introduced to a few very useful tidbits I can take back to the college that is sure to interest many at my college, especially ideas about orientation courses and student retention. Listening to the questions and comments from other educators, I also realized in this session how progressive our college is when it comes to the first-year experience as well as our instruction in library resources.

If you have to work on Sunday, then this was a good way to do it.

Now I’m back in my room, watching the Penguins play the Capitals, the Pens just went up by one, and wondering when John will get hungry enough for some more good Chicago food and drink. I love the Penguins but…..


Online Inspiration

I teach 200-level college transferable literature courses online at a small community college in North Carolina. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. I thought the same things myself when I developed my first course–World Literature II–years ago. Things like

  • I will never be able to engage them like I can in a seated class.
  • This course will never be equal to a seated one.
  •  The grading load will be totally unmanageable.
  • I need the interaction with students that only a seated class can give.
  • I will never be able to have the kind of variety of assignments and activities that I have in my seated classes

All of these things were true in those first years and perhaps at least one or two of them is still true in my mind, but the time is rapidly approaching, with new advancements and technology as well as continued training when even the final issues will be resolved and students will be able to choose whatever form is best for them and know that they will get equal quality of instruction.

My opinion about teaching online classes has begun to change primarily because of training offered by our college’s distance learning personnel and help from colleagues as well as computer savvy young people, including my 21-year-old computer-raised daughter. I, who thought I had died and gone to heaven when I received my first Smith-Corona electric typewriter with its changeable cartridges,

never imagined back then the Star Trek technology that would become a reality in my lifetime, but as the programs and software have become increasingly user friendly, I have been able, if not to master them, at least to find ways to incorporate technology into my online classes. Some of this technology has helped to engage my students and aided me in what was at first an untenable amount of grading, while maintaining rigor and upholding the standards expected of college transfer students.

At my college’s professional development day last Thursday I shared some of the ways I am using technology to help the students in my online literature classes become more active readers as well as learn to research more deeply. I will be presenting this same presentation in March when I attend the League of Innovation in Community College’s conference in Chicago.

I used Prezi (one of the free presentation software applications I talked about in the PD session) to create a slide show that in itselfis a representation of how my knowledge of technology is improving. Furthermore, I have to tell you a secret…I had fun.

Here’s the link to the Prezi presentation (It may take a minute or two to load):

Dig Deep: Encouraging Active Reading and Deep Research in Online Classes

Let me know what you think!




Herman Melville, Lincoln’s Inn and Serendipity

Lincoln’s Inn–London (photo courtesy of Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn)

One of the things I love doing as a teacher is creating opportunities to become a student again. It renews the love of learning that is at the heart of my profession but sometimes gets lost under the mind-numbing bureaucratic tasks and pointless political pandering that has become so much a part of what it means to be an educator.

It’s at times like these that I most need to remember how exciting it is to learn something new, to read and study a work I’ve never encountered before, to visit places I’ve never been. My trip to London in the fall of last year provided me with many such opportunities.

Like the day I discovered Lincoln’s Inn.

I say discovered because I hadn’t gone looking for Lincoln’s Inn. I didn’t know it was there. I didn’t know anything about it. I certainly didn’t know that a month later I would be writing a lesson on Herman Melville for my new online American Literature I class and encounter Lincoln’s Inn once again.

It happened this way:

I woke up the first day that I was alone in London, finally free to do some serious walking and exploring. I planned out a trip that I had been longing to take ever since I developed a sample travel project for my British Literature II class several years ago. I decided to walk from my hotel in Russell Square to the Sir John Soane Museum at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Sir John Soane was a famous and wealthy Regency Era architect who designed the Bank of England and other famous landmarks, including his own house that he willed to his country.

Not knowing how long it would take me to walk there, I sat out rather early, clutching my google map instructions tightly in my hands. I made quick work getting there, too quick in fact. The museum was not yet open. With more than 20 minutes to wait, I decided to cross e street to Lincoln’s Inn Fields and walk around. Although it is a beautiful little park with its trees at their peak of Autumn foliage, I still had about 15 minutes to spare after walking the perimeter.

I decided to explore just a little further, and noting the street names began to head towards the most interesting brick building. As I approached, I realized that there were other similar buildings. Then, I passed through what looked to be a very old tower gate, and I realized I was in some sort of compound–beautifully landscaped and tended–the large main building almost like a church with beautiful stone accents and stained glass windows. I saw that there was a library  in the building and got a hint to its use when I saw a man traditionally dressed in barrister’s robes walking up the sidewalk towards the building.

I returned to the Morton Hotel after many more wonderful adventures, including the Sir John Soane Museum that I finally got to see (it was magnificant), an outdoor art display by Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy of Arts (incredible), lunch at a classic London Pub (tasty onion and mushroom pie) and a trip to the British Museum (I love that place). Even though I visited the British Museum on my first trip to London, I went to rooms I didn’t get to see that first time–my favorite being the Ancient European room and the clock room.

After a bite to eat from the little Tesco down the street and a hot shower, I settled in to find out what exactly that incredible building was. I quickly discovered that what I had been looking at and admiring was none other than Lincoln’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court, which are the professional organizations for all barristers in England and Wales. I researched and read until late in the night, fascinated and excited to learn something new that would help me read, study and teach more effectively as well as humbled, feeling that I, as a teacher of British literature, should have known more about these things already.

When I returned home, I immediately found ways to incorporate what I had learned in my British Literature I class. That goes without saying, but I had no idea how my experience of discovering Lincoln’s Inn would enhance my teaching in American Literature until I read Melville’s “A Paradise of Bachelors.” The setting is one of the Inns of Court where the main character in this highly autobiographical story goes walking through the streets of London just as I did and is impressed with the beauty and grandeur of the grounds around the Temple Bar, just as I was.

IT lies not far from Temple-Bar.

Going to it, by the usual way, is like stealing from a heated plain into some cool, deep glen, shady among harboring hills.

Sick with the din and soiled with the mud of Fleet Street — where the Benedick tradesmen are hurrying by, with ledger-lines ruled along their brows, thinking upon rise of bread and fall of babies — you adroitly turn a mystic corner — not a street — glide down a dim, monastic way flanked by dark, sedate, and solemn piles, and still wending on, give the whole care-worn world the slip, and, disentangled, stand beneath the quiet cloisters of the Paradise of Bachelors. Sweet are the oases in Sahara; charming the isle-groves of August prairies; delectable pure faith amidst a thousand perfidies: but sweeter, still more charming, most delectable, the dreamy Paradise of Bachelors, found in the stony heart of stunning London.

Melville’s description spoke to my experience so completely. His observations so piquant that I immediately found renewed admiration for this, one of the greatest of American writers.

“Found in the stony heart of stunning London.”

London Trip — Day One–Departure

Picture 39

Dear Students,

My blog these next few days is primarily for you. Whether you are one of my British literature students or not, I want you to know that I’m thinking of you. I also am only just an e-mail or a Moodle message away. I will try to answer your questions in a timely manner. I’m hoping that you will find my posts interesting even if you are in my ACA115 online class or you are in one of my seated classes, even though the material doesn’t seem directly related to your class.

For those in my literature classes, I hope this information will be useful as you put together your capstone project–the literary travel project. You will see that it takes a lot to put together a trip, especially one that is dedicated to finding and enjoying particular things related to your particular author or work–of course, Shakespeare is pretty easy, I’ll admit.

So here’s a little run-down of my day:

I woke early because I couldn’t sleep. I was wondering if the luggage I bought would really fit in the overhead compartments or if I would have to check it in–I stewed and stewed over this. When my husband woke up, I told him about my worries, and he simply took out a tape measure to reassure me that it did meet the requirements for a carry on. I’m still going to ask at the check-in counter, though–just to be sure. I already have my boarding pass as I took care of that online from home yesterday.

I double checked some things and then headed to work. On the way there I listened to NPR’s Morning Edition as I usually do, and heard two stories back to back that mentioned London. It always seems that when you start thinking about or studying a certain thing, you are more attuned to hearing about it.

Before my class, I answered student e-mail and graded some of your papers and will grade more at home and on the flight as most airlines allow personal electronic devices to be used gate to gate now (the regulation changed in 2014 for most international flights, but I will ask just in case).

In my class we talked about fallacies in logic as my students prepare to research and write their argumentative research papers. Even in that class my mind turned to England as I used two great scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to illustrate my point–the “She’s a Witch” scene and the “Annoying Peasant” scene. Funny stuff and it always makes the point. We discussed all the egregious false logic in the clips, including non sequitur, hasty generalization, stereotyping, post hoc ergo proctor hoc, ad hominem and others. I always enjoy the “ferreting out fallacies” part of English 111.

After class I ran over to the Patton Auditorium to catch the last few minutes of a terrific talk by Lisa K. Bryant, artistic director at the Flat Rock Playhouse, the State Theater of North Carolina, along with some of the staff at the Playhouse, for the Arida Arts Symposium. It was so wonderful to see a bond beginning to develop between the Playhouse and the College. It has always been there, but I’m glad to see it strengthening. Quite a few drama students were in attendance and had an opportunity to hear what it’s like to make a living in the theater as she has. It was gratifying, also, for the director of our drama department to hear confirmed by professionals in the theater the things that she has been saying to her students all along.

Whew, I’m tired already, and I haven’t even gotten to the airport yet, so I’ll say TTFN (tata for now) and put the final touches on my baggage.




Featured image

Professional development–It means different things to different people, I suppose, but in my mind, I will soon be experiencing the most wonderful professional development a teacher of British literature could ask for. I’m going to England! One of the highlights of the trip will be seeing Benedict Cumberbatch performing the leading role in Hamlet at the Barbican in London.

The timing is perfect because while I am there, seeing Hamlet live, my students will be reading Hamlet and watching a movie version of it. I wish I could take them with me, but I plan to do a video pre and post show in front of the Barbican and take as many pictures and videos as I can to use in my British literature classes.

I also plan to use my experiences to continue to refine the major capstone project in my online literature classes–the literary travel project that I have discussed in previous blogs. I have created sample literary travel projects, and now I can test out my own literary travel plans to further refine those samples, as well as the project directions, and help my students get the most out of their major research project.

Keeping up with all of my classes, seated and online, will be a challenge, but I thought one way to stay in touch with them, and with anyone who is interested in the value of international travel as professional development for faculty. will be interested in my blog posts over the week–STARTING ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23!

Traveling the Book: Teaching Deep Research in 200-Level Online Literature Courses, Part II

It took me a while, but I finally elizabeth-whitman-from-the-Coquettefinished my sample “Traveling the Book” Project for my online American Literature I class that I’ll be teaching in the fall. As I explained in my last post, the major research project in the class is to research a book of literary and historical importance to the time period we are studying, then write an annotated bibliography of ten scholarly sources, concentrating on the biographical details of the author, the historical context of the author’s life and of the book, as well as the setting of the novel.

I have had great results with this project in my British Lit. I and II online courses, but I wasn’t sure how it would work to make travel plans for a literary tour of the U.S., but my sample imaginary tour turned out great!

The students start their presentations with a summary, then a historical timeline. Next comes a 14-day itinerary of their plans that must relate to aspects of the book and/or the author’s life. Finally, there is a detailed itemized budget.

I hope you’ll take a look at my project presentation whether you are a teacher or not. I think you’ll like it. It certainly was a great deal of fun to produce.

Note: All the photos used are purely for educational purposes.

The Coquette

Traveling the Book: Teaching Deep Research in 200-Level Online Literature Courses


Imaginary portrait of Eliza Wharton, the tragic heroine of Hannah Webster Foster’s 18th Century American novel–The Coquette.

*         *        *

I have been teaching 200-level literature classes for some time now, having developed three from the ground up–World Literature II, British Literature I and British Literature II. This summer I’m working on my fourth online literature course, American Literature I. Now that the state has for some ungodly reason pronounced only American Literature I and II as universally transferrable, there is more demand for American literature than British, which is ridiculous to me since our language as well as many of our ideas and values originated in jolly old England. But that is a topic for another post.

Today, I am excited because I have been working on the major project for my American Literature I class, which is based on the major project I first used in my world literature class and now use in all my online literature classes–the Traveling the Book Project. I have also called it the Travel Project and the Traveling the Novel Project, but Traveling the Book seems best for American Literature I since there are few novels but many historical writings, important collections of essays and short stories as well as books of poetry that students may wish to “travel.”

The assignment has been made up of two parts: An annotated bibliography of sources about the author and his or her work and an itinerary of a two-week literary tour, including a summary or description of the work and a daily itinerary of places in the modern world people can visit that are related to the book and/or author. Students must also include an itemized budget, explaining how they will spend an imaginary $10,000 dollars, not including air fare, on accommodations, food, travel, entrance fees and miscellaneous cost. For American Literature I, I am asking students to also include a timeline of important events in American history as they relate to the author and/or work.

I have learned a great deal over the years about what works and doesn’t work concerning this assignment and continually refine it to help students reach the goals of the project which include coming to a better understanding of a major work of literature and its author, of course, but perhaps more importantly, learning how to pursue the deeper, more significant research they will hopefully be expected to conduct when they transfer to a four-year college.

One of the things I have learned is that students don’t really understand how to do deep research, so they have a hard time grasping the requirements of the project, so clear directions on completion are essential. I also limit the number of sources students can locate using simple web searches, encouraging instead the use of scholarly databases, e-books and print sources.  I also disconnect the sources used to find general travel information from the annotated bibliography, which should be more scholarly in nature.

Although detailed directions can help, many students are grateful that I post examples of the annotated bibliography and the travel itinerary presentation on the course home page for reference purposes The process of generating the samples for each class has become an enjoyable part of my summer. (I know, I’m strange.) I learn so much from each project I complete and going through the same process I want my students to go through helps me anticipate their questions and give them a real idea of how much time they will need to spend on each part of the project. (I worked ten hours or more over the course of four or five days to complete the sample annotated bibliography for American Lit. I.)

Creating the sample also allows me to model deep research, which means

  • reading the original source actively and thoroughly
  • reaching past general biographical information
  • searching primary sources rather than relying only on criticism and other secondary sources
  • researching certain aspects of the work including primarily historical context and setting
  • applying the research to the itinerary

I have just completed the annotated bibliography sample for American Literature I. The novel I chose is The Coquette, an epistolary novel by Eighteenth Century writer Hannah Webster Foster, and is considered to be the first American novel written by a woman. I will be adding the required summary of the novel before I actually post the example, but here are the ten required sources and their annotations to give readers an idea of what this part of the project looks like.

When I finish it, I will post the travel itinerary presentation example.

Katie Winkler

ENG 231

Instructor Winkler

May 28, 2015

A Woman on Her Own:

Hannah Webster Foster and the Independent Woman in Early American Literature

Brown, Richard D. “Daughters, Wives, Mothers: Domestic Roles and the Mastery of Affective Information.” Knowledge Is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1700-1865. Cary, NC, USA: Oxford University Press,1991:160 196. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 27 May 2015.

Chapter Seven discusses the role of women in Early American society and the importance of Bostonian women’s importance to the publishing industry, especially newspapers, as well as the growing importance of novels, such as The Coquette. Although this source doesn’t mention Hannah Webster Foster or Elizabeth Whitman directly, it does have a wealth of information about the role of women in the time period when Foster lived and wrote. In addition, I have found that Foster’s first publications were political articles in Boston newspapers and that the first newspapers in America were printed in Boston.

There are several interesting aspects of the chapter that make Brown’s book relevant to my itinerary, especially a discussion on life as an upper class woman in 18th Century, particularly the life of Mary Holyoke of Salem, who kept a detailed diary of her social, political and domestic concerns as the wife of a prominent man in society. The woman described sounds very much like Eliza Wharton, the heroine of the novel. Other interesting information in the chapter is the importance of newspapers to women in all levels of society, the sensational nature of much of the newspaper reporting and how the patriarchal society of America attempted to suppress the reading of novels.

Davidson, Cathy N. “Hannah Webster Foster.” American Writers of the Early Republic. Ed. Emory Elliott. Detroit: Gale, 1985. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 37. Literature Resource Center. Web. 26 May 2015.

A short biography of Hannah Webster Foster and a critique of The Coquette, which yields some interesting information about Foster and Elizabeth Whitman, the woman on whom Foster modeled her heroine. The author lived her whole life in Massachusetts, first in Salisbury and then in Brighton after she married John Foster, who became the minister of the First Church in Brighton, Mass. She had six children with Foster. Her first novel of two, The Coquette, was published in 1797 after the birth of her first child. This article mentions, as have other biographies, how Foster moved to live in Montreal with two of her daughters, both writers in their own rights, following her husband’s death, although I am not sure if I will include Montreal in my itinerary, which will probably include locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut only.

The article also offers a critique and analysis of The Coquette, and interesting to my purposes, also posits that Pierrepont Edwards, the son of the important “Great Awakening” preacher, Jonathan Edwards, was the father of Elizabeth Whitman’s child and the model for Major Sanford in Foster’s novel, convincing me to do some research on Jonathan Edwards and Pierrepont’s situation and perhaps add some relevant locations to my trip.

“Elizabeth Whitman: The Mysterious Coquette of 1788.” New England Historical Society. WordPress, 2014. Web. 25 May 2015.

Speculates on the life and loves of Elizabeth Whitman, the real-life Eliza Wharton from Foster’s novel, The Coquette. Not only gives some background on Whitman, but also speculates on her suitors and the men who possibly fathered her child, including Pierrepont Edwards, the philandering son of Jonathan Edwards, the firebrand preacher central to the Eighteenth Century’s Great Awakening, a protestant spiritual revival. Edwards lived In New Haven, a town that Whitman frequented. Another reason to visit New Haven is that many of the letters written by Eliza Wharton in Foster’s epistolary novel are penned in New Haven.

Other possible models for the character of Major Sanford, the seducer in the novel, are U.S. Senator James Watson and even, Aaron Burr, who became the third Vice-President of the United States, as well as Timothy Dwight, future president of Yale University, who helped with the cover up after Whitman’s untimely death. Helped me to make up mind to visit Yale as part of my trip.

Grove Street Cemetery. Friends of the Grove Street Cemetery, n.d. Web 28 May 2015.

A website that gives detailed information on the cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut, where the fictional Eliza Wharton penned most of her letters. Pierrepont Edwards, youngest son of the prominent theologian, Jonathan Edwards, is buried here. Edwards is believed by many to be the model in the novel for Major Sanford, the man who seduced Eliza and abandoned her. In real life Edwards is the most likely candidate to be the one who seduced Elizabeth Whitman, impregnated and then abandoned her.

Also, buried in this cemetery is Timothy Dwight, one of the early presidents of Yale, who is also sometimes mentioned in connection to Elizabeth Whitman, either as the seducer himself or one who helped the Edwards’ family cover up the scandal after Whitman’s death. The website gives quite a bit of information about Dwight, all lauding his accomplishments. Nothing, of course, about the scandal. Nevertheless, there is a wealth of information here to help me with my travel plans, including a self-guided tour map, listings of prominent people buried in the cemetery and a short video about the important Revolutionary figures buried at the Grove Street Cemetery.

Marchione, Dr. William P, PhD. “Hannah Foster: Brighton’s Pioneer Novelist.” Brighton-Allston Historical Society, 2001.       Web. 26 May 2015.

Excellent article that gives me actual addresses to places in Brighton Center (a suburb of Boston) related to Hannah Webster Foster. I can plan much of my itinerary for the Brighton leg of the journey from this article. I found that the building (10 Academy Hill Road) where Foster wrote the Coquette, was then the parsonage for the church her husband pastored, but is now in disrepair and a store front, but Dr. Marchione, the author of the article, petitioned to have a plaque put up to commemorate the building’s importance, and the plaque was supposedly erected. I plan to look for myself to see if it is there.

In addition, I plan to visit the first residence of John and Hannah Foster, The Ebenezer Smith House on Peaceable Street 15-17, which is still standing, according to the article, and is thought to be the oldest building in the Brighton Center area. The third residence caused some stir in the area as it was a huge, elaborate mansion and some residents thought it inappropriate that a clergyman should build such an expensive and opulently furnished house. Only a portion of the original house stands at 181 Foster Street, so I will plan to visit there. Since I have all of the addresses, I can simply plug them into my GPS and head on out!

Olver, Lynne. “Colonial and Early American Fare.” The Food Timeline. Lynne Olver. 1999. Web. 27 May 2015.

An important part of any trip I plan is doing my best to order foods that relate to the book I am “traveling.” In this case, The Coquette is about an upper class woman in the 18th Century who lived in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and I found wonderful information at this site. I discovered that popular foods in New England during this time included pies, cakes, chowders, baked beans, roasted meats, breads, salt pork, bacon and ham. I will also keep my eyes out for a special dessert called “Election Cake” and unusual fish choices like Hannah Hill and Black Fish.

Because this website breaks down cuisine by time and place, I can very easily pick and choose foods that I will want to keep in mind when looking at menus to plan my trip. In addition, there are interesting cultural tidbits of information on the site as well as a myriad of links to other sites, including the helpful source, American Cookery, which is a facsimile of the first cookbook written by an American.

Simmons, Amelia. American Cookery. Hartford: Simeon Butler, 1798. Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook   Project. Michigan State University Libraries. 31 August 2003. E-book. 27 May 2015.

American Cookery is the first cookbook written by Americans for Americans and is a great resource to discover what New Englanders were eating during the time Hannah Webster Foster was living. In fact the cookbook was originally published i  n 1796, just one year before Foster’s novel, The Coquette. In addition, the book was published in Hartford, Connecticut, which is where the real life Eliza Wharton (Elizabeth Whitman), the tragic heroine of the novel, lived and will be one of the stops on my trip.

The cookbook discusses raising, preparing and cooking all manner of dishes, including seafood like lobster oysters, cod and eel; fowl like chickens, geese and duck; vegetables like potatoes, onions, beets, asparagus, artichokes and carrots; fruits like pears, apples, currants, grapes, even watermelon, and other foods, including a whole variety of legumes, lettuces and cabbages. The next section of the book includes recipes: roasted meats, stuffed turkey, chowders, stews, pot pies and minced pies as well as desserts like apple pie, rice pudding, Indian pudding, bread pudding, apple dumpling, puffed pastry tarts, custards and syllabub, which is a sweet custard flavored with wine or liquor. This information will be very helpful as I choose authentic meals to eat during my travels.

“Tragedy in Tale of Love: What an Old Weather-Worn Peabody Gravestone Tells.” The Coquette and the Boarding School:  A Norton Critical Edition. Eds. Jennifer Harris and Bryan Waterman. New York: W. W. Norton, 2013: 327-332. Print.

Published first in the Boston Sunday Herald in 1902, this article is a testament to the enduring popularity of Foster’s first novel that was a best-seller in its day and for decades afterwards. The anonymous author of this article makes a compelling case for the idea that Nathanial Hawthorne used Foster’s Eliza Wharton character as a model for Hester Prynne in his magnum opus, The Scarlet Letter. My trip to Salem, and Peabody where Elizabeth Whitman is buried, will now include a trip to The Salem Custom House where Hawthorne lived and worked while he was writing The Scarlet Letter.

The article also gives more in-depth biographical information about Elizabeth Whitman, the model for Eliza Wharton, than some other articles have given me, especially about her enduring religious faith and her upbringing in Hartford, Connecticut, including her father’s position as pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Hartford, which is still a functioning church (now called South Church) and one of the oldest churches in America. I’ll definitely want to visit there.

Waterman, Bryan. “The Elizabeth Whitman Paper Trail.” The Coquette and the Boarding School: Norton Critical Edition. Eds. Jennifer Harris and Bryan Waterman. New York: W.W. Norton, 2013: 302-307. Print.

Waterman’s name keeps cropping up in literature about Foster and Whitman. This article, first appearing in the William and Mary Quarterly in 2009, reprints several excerpts from articles about Whitman that appeared in newspapers around New England, including a notice of death appearing in the Salem Mercury and Pennsylvania Mercury, but none in Whitman’s native Connecticut. The wide interest in Whitman’s story generated brisk newspaper sales and is an example of the growing power of the newspaper.

The article also contains one of Whitman’s poems written late in her life, lamenting that her lover is late in joining her as he promised. Mention is made of Foster’s high position in Hartford and New Haven societies and her death in Danvers, Massachusetts (now Peabody) at a wayside inn not long after the birth of a still born child.

—. “Who Reads an Early American Book?” Common-Place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life. 9.3 (2009). Web. 25 May 2015.

Waterman gives detailed information on the grave site of Elizabeth Whitman, the model for Foster’s Eliza Wharton in The Coquette. Explains the continuing interest in Whitman’s story—a popular and prosperous young unmarried woman from Hartford, Connecticut, who travels alone and pregnant to Danvers, Massachusetts, now Peabody, checks into the Bell Tavern, lives there until she has the baby and dies soon after. The plot of Foster’s novel follows closely the real-life situation of Whitman, so naturally I will want to include Peabody, as well as Hartford, in my travels, including, of course, the gravesite.

The article also gives information about the new gravestone, next to the original, that was erected in 2004 by the Peabody Historical Society that has gone to great efforts to restore interest in the story of Whitman, her alter ego, Eliza Wharton and Foster’s novel.