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Plymouth Colony First Lady Penelope Winslow: Reconstructing a Life through Material Culture

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is requested
Members: Free | Visitors: Free with admission ($10)

Plymouth Colony First Lady Penelope Winslow: Reconstructing a Life through Material Culture

with Michelle Marchetti Coughlin

Penelope Pelham Winslow was a member of the English gentry (her third great-grandmother was Anne Boleyn's sister Mary) who was married to Plymouth Colony Governor Josiah Winslow. Although she was one of the most powerful women in Plymouth's history, she, like most of her female contemporaries, has been largely forgotten. Penelope authored or is mentioned in just a few surviving documents; however, a wealth of physical evidence survives to tell her story, ranging from surviving homes and possessions to archaeological artifacts. These items also offer insight into the world of Plymouth Colony's women.

In her new book, Penelope Winslow, Plymouth Colony First Lady: Re-Imagining a Life, Michelle Marchetti Coughlin discovers that blending historical records with material culture provides the keys to re-imagining Winslow's world in all its rich complexity.

Michelle Marchetti Coughlin is an independent scholar and the author of One Colonial Woman’s World: The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit, which received an honorable mention for the Western Association of Women Historians 2014 Kanner Prize. Ms. Coughlin has been a Massachusetts Humanities Scholar-in-Residence and a historical consultant, and recently guest-curated Pilgrim Hall Museum's exhibit, "pathFOUNDERS: Women of Plymouth." She currently serves on the board of the Abigail Adams Birthplace and as Museum Administrator of Boston's Gibson House Museum. She maintains a website at  


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