Skip to content Skip to navigation

Curator's Choice: Sartorial Suffrage

Friday, March 6, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is requested
Members Free and Non-members Free with admission ($10)

Curator's Choice: Sartorial Suffrage

with Theo Tyson,  Kimberly Alexander, and Sara Georgini

Sartorial Suffrage is part of a trio of events for ‘Curator’s Choice’ hosted by the Boston Athenæum’s Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art & Culture Theo Tyson and Assistant Curator Ginny Badget.

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, we will take the afternoon to discuss the implications and influences of fashion, clothing, and dress on the women’s suffrage movement. Tyson - who curated (Anti)SUFFRAGE - will use the installation as a point of departure to delve into the dogma, designs, and demands of suffrage and anti-suffrage attire. She will be joined by fashion historians Sara Georgini, Series Editor for the Papers of John Adams, part of the Adams Papers editorial project at the Massachusetts Historical Society and author of Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family and Kimberly Alexander, PhD, Lecturer in Museum Studies at the University of New Hampshire and author of Treasures Afoot: Shoe Stories from the Georgian Era.

Guided tours of our current installation (Anti)SUFFRAGE will be held immediately following the conversation.

Dr. Kimberly Alexander teaches museum studies, material culture, American history and New Hampshire history in the History Department of the University of New Hampshire. She has held curatorial positions at several New England museums, including the MIT Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum and Strawbery Banke. Her most recent book, Treasures Afoot: Shoe Stories from the Georgian Era, traces the history of early Anglo-American footwear from the 1740s through the 1790s (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018). Dr. Alexander was Andrew Oliver Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society (2016-2017) and is guest curator of “Fashioning the New England Family,” (October 2018- April 2019) at MHS. Her companion book, Fashioning the New England Family, was published in 2019. 

Sara Georgini, a native of Brooklyn, NY, earned her doctorate in history from Boston University. She is series editor for The Papers of John Adams, part of the Adams Papers editorial project based at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. She is committed to the preservation of and access to rare primary sources and has worked on the selection, annotation, indexing, and book production of a dozen scholarly editions drawn from the Adams Papers covering the history of American political life in the era ranging from the Declaration to disunion. Georgini’s research focuses on early American thought, culture, and religion. She is also a co-founder and contributor to The Junto and the Society for U.S. Intellectual History blogs in addition to writing about American history, thought, and culture for Smithsonian and CNN. She is also a Boston Athenæum author! Read her interview here.

Theo Tyson interrogates the sociocultural aspects of race, gender, and sexuality through the lens of fashion, its histories and theories. Her research is firmly rooted in historical and contemporary photography and the performativity of fashioning an identity. She uses fashion, art, and sociology to employ visual and material culture as an accessible, universal language to offer sartorial narratives that provide unique points of entry for civil discourse. Tyson, who has held posts at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, is currently the Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art and Culture at the Boston Athenæum where she engages and interprets their special collections through innovative and inclusive exhibitions and presentations.  

This event is part of ​our three-part series, "Curator's Choice." Join an Athenæum curator for a casual conversation about their current projects and the special collections items that inspire them, spark their curiousity, and generate discussion.

​Art + Design
​with Polly Thayer Starr Fellow Theo Tyson and interior designer Heidi Pribell
​6-7 pm on ​March 4, 2020

Revere's Engraving of the Boston Massacre
with assistant curator Ginny Badget
 ​12-1​pm ​on March 5, 2020

Assistive Listening Devices image

The BA's virtual events are not routinely captioned. To request real-time captions for this event, please contact Hannah Weisman at or 617-720-7617 no fewer than four business days prior to the event.