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Grant number: RZ-51615-13

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University of Nebraska, Lincoln (Lincoln, NE 68588-0007)
William G. Thomas (Project Director: December 2012 to present)
Jennifer E. Guiliano (Co Project Director: December 2012 to present)

O Say Can You See: Early Washington, D.C. Law and Family Project

Creation of a digital archive and website, presentation of virtual seminars, and research and writing of a scholarly monograph and journal articles related to a series of legal cases and family networks in early Washington, D.C. (24 months)

This project explores multigenerational black and white family networks in early Washington, D.C., by collecting, digitizing, making accessible, and analyzing over 4,000 case files from the D.C. court from 1808 to 1815, records of Maryland courts, and related documents about these families. Scholars from the University of Maryland and the University of Nebraska will collaborate by uncovering the web of litigants, jurists, legal actors, and participants in this community, and by placing these family networks in the foreground of our interpretive framework of slavery and national formation. We focus first on the landmark 1813 case Queen v. Hepburn, the only petition for freedom from slavery heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a foundational case establishing the hearsay rule. We propose to document the relationships within and among black and white families in early D.C. at the center of these cases, host virtual seminars to refine our methods, and produce a series of studies in monograph and article form.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
U.S. History

Collaborative Research

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$200,000 (approved)
$199,685 (awarded)

Grant period:
3/1/2014 – 2/28/2017