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Grant number: FT-59495-12

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Timothy John Shannon
Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA 17325-1483)

Indian Captive, Indian King: Peter Williamson in America and Britain

In a narrative published in 1757, Peter Williamson claimed he was kidnapped from Aberdeen, sold into servitude in America, held captive by Indians, and taken as a prisoner of war by the French. Williamson made a career of his misfortune, suing the people he believed involved in his kidnapping, giving public performances of his story in Indian costume, and operating a coffeehouse in Edinburgh known as Indian Peter's. I intend to write the first scholarly biography of Williamson, separating the fact from fiction within his story and explaining his self-invention within the context of the British Empire's encounter with colonial and Native Americans. This book will contribute to the new cultural history of British imperialism by explaining Williamson's role as an interpreter of colonial America for British audiences. An NEH Summer Stipend will enable me to complete two months of important research on Williamson in the National Archives of Scotland.

Project fields:
History, General

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2012 – 10/31/2012