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Recovering stories from the past: The Sewing Girl’s Tale

July 18, 2022 | Kristen Chavez

History professor John Wood Sweet joins the podcast to talk about his new book, The Sewing Girl’s Tale: A Story of Crime and Consequences in Revolutionary America, published by Henry Holt and Company. He talks about the experiences of researching and publishing this book, his IAH Faculty Fellowship in 2020, and why he started telling the stories of people who aren’t widely known.

The Sewing Girl’s Tale was also reviewed in The New York Times in July 2022.



Kristen Chavez: Welcome to the Institute, a podcast in the lives and works of fellows and friends of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m your host, Kristen Chavez. Today I’m speaking with history professor John Wood Sweet and his new book, The Sewing Girl’s Tale: A Story of Crime and Consequences in Revolutionary America, which is out now by Henry Holt and Company. He talks about the experiences of researching and publishing this book, which is directed more towards a lay audience. He also discusses his Faculty Fellowship at the Institute in 2020, when he received an IAH Legacy Fellowship to the Race, Memory and Reckoning Initiative for his project, “Seeing Segregation Everyday Places: Legacies of Chapel Hill’s Cultural Landscapes.” Thank you for being here, John.

John Sweet: I’m delighted to be here, Kristen.

KC: Great. So let’s just go ahead and get into it. Let’s talk about this new book of yours. How did you first learn about Lanah Sawyer and what made you want to research it further, and then write a book about it?

JS: Kristen, I’ve known about this case for a long time since back in the 1980s, when I was a graduate student, which was the time when Ms magazine first coined the term date rape. And the story of Lanah Sawyer’s prosecution and the story she told in the New York courtroom in 1793, was an extraordinarily vivid example of date rape, so far removed in time, but so immediate and so familiar. It was heartbreaking to see how some of the tactics the perpetrator used in that case to flatter Lanah Sawyer to excite her interest, to make her vulnerable, were used against her in court. For example, he gave her a false name so that she wouldn’t know who he really was because he had a bad reputation. And then his lawyer said that she was foolish to believe him. He convinced her to join him for a stroll one evening on the battery. His lawyers argued that by agreeing to go out for a walk with him she had pre-consented to sex. What else, they asked, did she imagine a gentleman like him saw in a mere sewing girl like her? Have you used that case in teaching over the years to talk about the origins of modern rape culture. But it was only about 12 years ago, when a graduate student researching another project came up with a piece of evidence that kind of threw my assumptions about the case, out of whack, really threw me for a loop. I was wondering where my assumptions about this case, right, was I wrong. And so that was when I began really researching the story. And the more I researched it, and the more I found out, the more surprising and became, and the more strange events kept developing. And that’s when I began thinking that this was a project I really wanted to devote myself in a story that I really wanted to tell.

KC: In reading this book, and as you mentioned, in the way that it can relate to modern date rape culture, you know, modern rape culture. How do you kind of see how this is resonant today? Because there are some issues like you mentioned, the tactics that the her rapist had used, how that relates to and resonates from revolutionary America to modern times.

JS: First, I think there’s a lot in our national politics and legal system at the moment that reminds us of  the importance of understanding and remembering women’s history in America. Lanah Sawyer’s story shows the importance of our modern distinction between the fear of stranger danger and the realities of acquaintance rape. And I think that’s a distinction that this case helped to create. Her story opens with her walking down Broadway. She’s harassed by a group of foreign men, but a seemingly gallant gentleman steps in to rescue her. He insinuates himself into her competence and ties his or her out on a date. Only when it’s too late does she realize that her fine new beau as he was called at one point during the trial was the real danger not to strangers on the street. Today, it’s much the same. Our fear of strangers helps us guys have had the most sexual assaults are perpetrated by acquaintances, a cousin, a boss, a fellow student, a teacher, some guy at a party. During the rape trial, the defense lawyers seized on earlier legal commentaries and exaggerated their implications. Their goal was to do two things: first to redefine rape in terms of physical violence rather than consent. And second to convince the jury that Lanah Sawyer wasn’t somebody who mattered. The result was to characterize real so called “real” air quotes “real” or stranger rape, as a violent surprise to assault perpetrated by a man of lower standing, which is a cultural script that was powerfully weaponized over the course of American history by white supremacists, in particular against Black men. Conversely, whatever an acquaintance might do, whatever a date, like Henry Bedlow might do, couldn’t be rape. In such scenario scenarios, the means of coercion involves so much more than physical force. Assailants target victims, misdirect and isolate them to render them vulnerable, leverage their social authority and exploit their victims confusion, fear and sexual shame. So victims typically don’t report such crimes, in part because they have been rendered agonizingly difficult to prosecute. I think Lanah Sawyer’s story shows how this bifurcation of stranger and acquaintance rape came into being and why it still matters.

KC: Your other books such as The Bodies Politic: Negotiating Race, and the American North 1730-1830, and Envisioning an English Empire: Jamestown in the Making of the North Atlantic World are academic titles, and published at university presses. The Sewing Girl’s Tale, on the other hand, is written a little more like a narrative. Why did you make that choice or, and choose to pursue a more trade route for more popular lay audience?

JS: You know, in part, I decided this to write this book as a narrative about 10 years ago, because I didn’t know how to do it. I got stuck on another project, which was a biography. And I was struggling with how to tell the story of that man’s life. And I thought, Oh, I’ll write a quick little book about Lanah’s Sawyer and this case, and in the process, I’ll figure out how to write narrative. How hard can that be, I thought

KC: [laughs] Getting the sense…

JS: [laughs] Ten years later, I can say pretty hard. But it’s also been really rewarding. I kept doing all kinds of research, I learned all kinds of interesting things. One of the challenges when you’re telling a story like this is you want to know, not just what the street she lived on was like, what the kinds of houses people like her lived in was like, but where she specifically lived. What the room in which the rape took place, what that room looked like. So that adds to the degree of difficulty with research because you’re finding very detailed information. And then there’s another challenge is keeping Lanah Sawyer at the center of the story. In the records, the man are constantly taking over the action. And it’s, it was a deliberate decision to try and keep Lanah Sawyer at the center of her own story and to tell things from her point of view when I as much as I could. So the result I’m I’m was I’m kind of excited about. One of the things that I like about the book is that it kind of turns our normal view of the revolutionary period kind of upside down. We typically think of the revolutionary period, in terms of Founding Fathers, like Alexander Hamilton. And this is a story in which Hamilton appears not as the central figure, not as the protagonist, not as the hero, but as a bit player, as an attorney who’s hired to do work. And he looks different when you see him from that point of view.

KC: It’s about adding the context within history.

JS: Yeah, it’s filling in a broader picture of what life in revolutionary America was like and what the struggles during the Constitution period and the period after the Constitution was ratified were all about, which I think many Americans forget that this was a period. That was in some ways more radical. Certainly there was strong feminist voices that came up after this trial discussing this case, and there was also a lot of backlash in this period.

KC: How did writing and going through the editing and publishing process differ with The Sewing Girl’s Tale versus your other publications?

JS: Some aspects of producing a book for a trade press were completely different from anything I had experienced with a university press. With an academic publisher, you generally approach the acquisitions editor directly, you say, to whoever it is that UNC Press, for example, I’ve got this great project, are you interested? And they say, of course, or whatever. But to enter the world of trade publishing, you need to start out with an agent. And that’s a big barrier to entry. So you need to first find the agent, then convince them that the project is worth their while. And then the agent develops a strategy for placing the book with the press. So there’s a lot of more intermediaries and gatekeepers in this process. And the other thing that’s significant about a trade project is you’ve got to convince people along the way, that there’s money in it. Unlike a university press, which has an really important and crucial role in academic life, the goal of commercial publishers is to make money. So in this case, I had a great agent, who actually had a very long background in university publishing — his previous editor in chief of Yale University Press — so he appreciated the history aspect of this project. But this book got auctioned off over a period of two weeks, and I was like, Oh, my God, he’s gonna sell me to the wrong person. Or no one’s gonna want it. It’s too boring for the trade people, too commercial for the academic presses. I was very grateful and pleased when things ended up with Holt, which I think was a good man.

KC: Do you see yourself– I guess this may be getting ahead of ourselves right now. But do you see yourself potentially doing another book like this and other pursuing the commercial route?

JS: You know, there are some aspects of the trade process that I really like, I think, for me, the most important thing is the opportunity to address a bigger audience than you normally would have. So they were just telling me the print run figures for the hardcover, in the world of this podcast, has just come out. They were just sharing with me that print run numbers, which, you know, are 20 times higher than I have had with excellent university presses. So they’re planning for this book to reach many more hands.

KC: That’s exciting.

JS: And that’s exciting when you work on a project for so long.

KC: Yeah.

JS: It’s exciting to think that it will be part of an of a national discussion.

KC: Absolutely. You mentioned before that within your research you dove into what Lanah’s life was, like. The details of her home and where she lived. Can you share more about your writing choices around that sort of thing, or paraphrasing suggested thoughts or things that don’t necessarily have historical documentation to really make that world feel real? Because it was. Can you share about that and maybe that writing, those writing choices and of things that may have been tweaked or added for creative license and just readability.

JS: Part of what excited me about this project was the opportunity to explore the momentous period of the American Revolution, not through the ideas of some Founding Father, but through the eyes of an ordinary New Yorker: a 17-year-old, a seamstress, a woman named Lanah Sawyer. Today, most people have never heard of her. And if she hadn’t responded to a sexual assault in a really unusual way, she might have left basically no trace at all on the historical record. For historians, accessing the perspectives of ordinary people, working people, woman, youths, is notoriously difficult. It takes a lot of perseverance, a lot of patience, a lot of luck. But I spent my entire career trying to tell stories that people used to say could not be told. So for The Sewing Girl’s Tale, as you mentioned, I wanted to do more than figure out the simple narrative of what happened. I wanted readers to be able to visualize the city Lanah Sawyer inhabited to understand how her world worked, to appreciate the challenges she faced, her painful decisions, her courage, her heartbreak. And so what emerged was not so much as a story from the top down, but from the bottom up a story of a young woman looking to make her own way, in a city full of possibility and danger. A story of working men fed up with being disparaged and dismissed, and a story of early feminists making bold new arguments about human rights at a time when the only way most single woman could earn a living wage was by working as a prostitute.

JS: So there were a lot of research strategies I developed in order to try and tell the story that way. And there were some writing decisions I made, as you mentioned. And one of them was that the, I adjusted the way dialogue, some of the dialogue and the story is presented. The trial record, which was the first published trial record of an American rape trial, is really unique and began a trend towards publishing that kind of report. But it’s the first case like this in American history in which we, we know what the witnesses basically said what the attorneys on the different sides argued, what the charge to the jury looked like. So we have a much more complete window into this trial. We also know like, when the spectators it was a crowded courtroom, people were crammed in, there was huge room. And they interrupted the proceedings with hisses and claps and stomping their feet. But the report was summarized witness testimony in the third person. So it would say Lanah Sawyer said, she said this. She said that she had told somebody this. And so there were a number of cases where I used the summary of the dialogue in the third person and put it back into the first person as she would have said it in court. And when I felt really confident that I could just change the pronoun from ‘she’ to ‘I,’ or change the verb tense slightly. I did that to make it feel more immediate. And to have that as direct action, rather than, as would later be narrated in court.

KC: Yeah.

JS: So that was one of the things I did to kind of bring out her voice.

KC: I think that is important that you note that still keeping Lanah’s voice, whether it’s from the trial record or not, and keeping her centered within the story. Although, as you know, you also dive into the backgrounds and the class and the contemporary issues of many other people involved. Can you kind of talk about that balance between keeping Lanah centered within her story, and the people who may or may not be included within the historical record?

JS: So when I started researching Lanah Sawyer’s story, it was obvious to me that there were several key figures whose behavior helped drive the action forward. There was, of course, the perpetrator, Henry Bedlow, but there were others as well, who were less well documented, and who I found it harder to research directly. But I wanted to understand why they did what they did, what they were thinking and feeling, why they took the actions they did. And one of these figures was Mother Carey, who was the madam that ran the brothel in which the rape took place. I wanted to know why. She led the perpetrator into her brothel with a struggling young woman. I wanted to know why she sided with the perpetrator during the trial. And my way into her mindset — I found out some interesting things about her. I found her gravestone in Philadelphia, after she got run out of New York. I found you know, various different things about her in particular. But to understand her mindset, what I did was I researched the business of running of brothel, the business of prostitution in this period. And so I looked at lots of cases involving other madams to understand what were the business decisions she was making about whether to let somebody in or not, what were the risks and dangers she faced as a result of her the legal status of her of her business. And I think that really helped me flush out in my mind, what she was up to why she made the decision she did.

JS: Another crucial figure was Lanah Sawyer, stepfather, John Callanan, who is was a branch pilot, which was a skilled trade, but not one that’s well documented in this period, branch pilots were appointed by the state government. And there were a certain number of them designated to bring vessels in from Sandy Hook into New York Harbor, and then back out again, which was a very treacherous passage. And, in fact, there still are Sandy Hook pilots, who do the same job now. But there was nothing written about branch pilots in this period. So I did a lot of research on figuring out who were the branch pilots, what was the lifecycle of a branch pilot? What did you do to train to become a branch pilot? How did they bargain with the legislature over getting raises? What was their relationship with merchants? For example, where did they live? One of the things I really I found out was that the branch pilots all, almost all, lived tightly clustered right around where John Callanan and did. That they were, that they were not not independent operators, that they worked in companies that they co-owned, they had to own pilot boats, which are expensive vessels, but they had to own their own boats, but they tend to tend to group together to purchase a boat. They worked in companies working the boat in shifts and they all live like within two blocks of each other. So other things I realized, is that the branch pilots spent their entire lives braving danger. The work of a branch pilot was like, I suppose, or other jobs like this, which is like 99% boredom, waiting for something to happen. And then 1%…

KC: You don’t want that thing to happen.

JS: And then the thing happens and you’re rescuing a boat from a sudden gale or you’re getting a ship off of a shoal. Branch pilots also take command of a merchant vessel. When the vessel arrives at Sandy Hook, it’s not the captain who’s in charge is the pilot who’s in charge. So in this super hierarchical maritime world, the branch pilot suspends the ordinary hierarchies for brief time and he has to be able to inspire confidence in the ship’s captain, that the vessel is in good hands. So a branch pilot turns out to be someone who is not just working on his own like a furniture maker. He’s somebody who, got to have a kind of charisma and a kind of personal authority. He has to be able to be comfortable taking risks. He has to be calm and steady in dangerous situations. And a lot of those qualities, it struck me, helped explain Lanah Sawyer’s stepfather’s behavior, which was remarkably aggressive and effective. I think Henry Bedlow being a gentleman thought, ‘Oh, he’s some working class guy. He won’t dare stand up to me.’ And instead, John Callanan proved to be an enormously resourceful opponent.

KC: Because he was the one that was really able to bring the case against Harry Pedlow forward in a way that Lanah, without having the power, so to speak legally to do that. Is that right?

JS: In this case, in this case, the relationship between Lanah and her stepfather shifted over time. So for a rape case to be prosecuted, you technically didn’t need anything other than the complainant. But in practice, a young woman living in her stepfather’s household would not be an effective witness without the support of the stepfather. So Lanah had to get him on her side, and then go through a series of other gatekeepers before long launching a real prosecution. Later on when the story turns to civil court, Lanah had no standing. And because of the crazy, patriarchal, bizarre rules of seduction suits, only the stepfather had the right to be the plaintiff, to claim that he was damaged. Whereas it was obvious that she was the real victim. Well, what’s remarkable about the seduction suit is that although the legal pretext was completely hallucinatory, it worked.

KC: That’s incredible.

JS: So two different juries in the same courtroom almost exactly a year apart, came to very different conclusions, which is something you see today.

KC: Yeah.

JS: A lot of cases involving sexual assault against celebrities end in civil court, rather than criminal court like Bill Cosby, for example, or Prince Andrew.

KC: As you describe in this book, and in this podcast in the interview, you know that Lanah is really an important historical figure, and yet, she’s really largely unknown. Can you talk about why you think that might be?

JS: I think there’s several reasons. First, in American history, working class heroes, like Lanah Sawyer, are rarely remembered. To me, what’s most extraordinary about her story is that we can recover as much of it as we can. Because she, unlike most survivors of sexual assault then and now, came forward, pressed charges and made her story compelling enough to the spectators of the trial, that one of them decided it was worth publishing as a detailed account. It was the first such published report of an American rape trial, and without it, we would know almost nothing other than Lanah Sawyer’s name. We don’t even have a baptism record for her because she was baptized during the Revolution and the minister, Episcopal minister took the baptism book back to England with him and got lost. So without this record, published record, we have almost nothing to tell us what had happened during this incident. We would know that there was a trial, we would know the date on which the alleged assault took place. We would know the names of the witnesses who appeared, but there was so much we still don’t know. She didn’t leave behind a portrait that would tell us what she looked like. She didn’t leave behind letters that would tell us something of our emotional turmoil. In part that’s because of her age and her class and her gender. But I think it’s also clearly because she didn’t seek the spotlight. I think of Mariah Reynolds, who was at the center of the woman at the center of Alexander Hamilton’s big scandal in the 1890s, which is kind of interesting parallels and in fact is intertwined with this story. And Mariah Reynolds considered went to a newspaper editor with 10 pages of notes and considered publishing an account of her own story. And then decided not to. And I think that was the case for for Lanah Sawyer as well, that she didn’t feel the need to have more attention focused on her. She felt her best path forward was to recede.

JS: At the same time, I think, one of the most troubling aspects of rape culture then and now, is that the cases that tend to attract public attention are almost always those that involve elite man, as one of Henry Bedlow’s attorneys complained to the jury, ‘you’ve got the life of a citizen in the hands of a woman,’ as though a rapist’s social standing should protect him from the consequences of his behavior. As though a woman doesn’t deserve legal recourse. Recently, the philosopher Kate Mann has described this philosophy, this phenomenon as “himpathy.” Lanah Sawyer’s story is, I think, an important opportunity to pause and reflect: why do we focus so much on elite male perpetrators and what they stand to lose if they end up being held to account, rather than on what the victims have already lost? How does the sexual assault, how does sexual harassment in the workplace change a woman’s life? Change her career prospects? Change her ambitions? We know remarkably little about those stories.

KC: Yeah, agreed, even just you know, whether it’s now or, of course, within the historical record. Of course I imagine that all of the things that you’ve researched didn’t necessarily make it into the book. But you do have extra reading materials and resources for those who are more interested in Lanah’s story. Can you talk a little bit more about that, about what’s available that you kind of helped compile?

JS: Yeah, that’s one of the challenges of telling a story is knowing when to not keep talking. For this project, I did a lot of research like I researched every sexual assault prosecution in New York City for a century. I researched a century’s worth of seduction suits. I wanted to know big patterns. I researched where everybody involved in the story lived, and many people not involved in the story lived. I researched everybody on Mother Carey’s block to figure out how many other brothels that were on her block — the answer was a lot, it was like a total red light district. So there was a lot of work that went into figuring out big patterns, so that I can draw out the issues that were relevant for this story. And a lot of those databases, I’ve stuck, I’ve put up on my website, so others don’t have to reinvent that work. And there are also other stories that didn’t get into the book, because there were stories about me and my research process, rather than about Lanah Sawyer and her story. One of those involved the dress she was wearing. And this was a great example for me of how consulting with an expert in a specific area, in this case, a curator of textiles, clothing, 18th century clothing, was really just transformative and inspiring me. So I knew the gown… Lanah Sawyer wore a dress on the night of the assault. And she described in court how it was torn and how she repaired it the next morning. And that was the only piece of forensic evidence introduced during the trial, was the gown, the torn and repaired gown. And I was really curious about what that gown would have looked like, how it would have been constructed. So of course, I did all the book learning I could do. I read books about fashion in the 18th century. I tried to look at examples in museums and portraits. And I ended up going to visit with the head textile curator at Colonial Williamsburg. Linda Baumgarten is one of the great experts in this area. And she answered all my questions very patiently and talked about construction style and how it would have gotten torn and what that tells us. And then she’s like, you know, there are two things I would like to point out. And she said first, you know, that the perpetrator didn’t need to take off the gown. Woman in this period, nobody in this period really wore underwear in the sense of drawers. So he could have just lifted up her skirts and her petticoats and her shift if that had been his only goal. So the fact that he wanted her undressed, the fact that he wanted her naked, tells us something about his sexual aim what his goals were. Second, she said that I think the gun was torn in getting it off, clearly shows that she was struggling, that for her, the fabric would have been quite expensive. It could have been a secondhand gown that she had refashion to fit herself. But in any case, it’s — a woman like her would have had maybe three gowns, three dresses. And this was likely her best, she was likely proud of it, she was probably wearing her best outfit to go out with this guy. And so she would not have damaged it deliberately. It was tearing it off, that caused the problem. And that showed that the gown really was evidence of what the prosecution had used it as: evidence of the violent nature of the assault. Which in some ways, was fascinating, because the prosecution had been arguing that violence was necessary to the crime of rape, not just lack of consent, but violence. And then there was compelling evidence of violence.

KC: Yeah, it’s very interesting that you were able to get that very kind of specific historical knowledge that, as you said, you may not have gotten through just reading, you know, through books and other research, but being able to get that that curator’s expert knowledge, and having the physical — knowing, I guess, the physical tangibility of it, in a way. I’d also like to talk about your Race, Memory and Reckoning fellowship that you did in 2020. And your project, Seeing History in Everyday Places. Can you share a little bit about your research around that?

JS: Yeah, that was a really great opportunity. And I’m very grateful for that support from the Institute. For a number of years, I’ve been teaching First Year Seminars on cultural landscapes in and around Chapel Hill, looking at different features on the landscape buildings or sites. One of them is the Castleberry Mill, which was the ruins of a 1765 watermill that’s on Carolina North property, for example. To help students think about the way the past is written on the landscape that we inhabit today. And in recent years, I’ve gotten more and more interested, and the students have gotten really interested, in the development of racial segregation in Chapel Hill, the emergence of separate Black and white neighborhoods after the end of slavery. Obviously, during the period of slavery in North Carolina, most people of color were enslaved, and they lived with their enslavers. It was after the Civil War, after people of color became free, that they moved out of white households largely and into and bought their own property. And here, the neighborhood that we call nowadays, Northside, is actually the survivor of a number of distinct black neighborhoods, mostly in the northwestern part of town. One of the things we’ve been working on recently, has been trying to better document the surviving historic structures from the early 20th century, Black neighborhoods in Chapel Hill. Most of the residential areas around campus are part of local historic districts designated by the town and the state and the federal government. So Franklin-Rosemary, Gimghoul, McCauley-Cameron, but the historic preservation movement historically has been quite racist. And so the only big sector left out of the historic districts system around downtown Chapel Hill has been the areas that were historically Black. And so one of the projects I’ve been doing is a website called, in which we’ve been both loading information and making available serve architectural survey reports that have previously been done for the official historic districts around town. But also we’re — one project we did this fall, which was actually kind of exciting, was I had the students trained by an historic preservationist, and the kids in this class went out and did took photographs and documented structures in order to produce kind of parallel documentation, and a more even representation and of the town’s architectural legacy.

KC: That’s interesting and really fascinating. I look forward to learning more about that. I feel like I’m recognizing a bit of a pattern within your work and your research and kind of telling the stories of those who had not been told before. Can you kind of share a little bit about what interests you within that research? Or how you kind of, why you kind of decide to focus in that realm, if that makes sense.

JS: You’re right from the start of my interest in going to graduate school, I was interested in telling stories that aren’t widely known. One of the things that really excited me about working on historic Northside was a project students did a couple years ago, transcribing and mapping the 1930 census for that area. And the students did you know, really great projects, analyzing the data about who owned and lived in those houses, who were renters, who had borders, what their occupations were. And it allowed them to really compare, tell stories about who lived in some parts of town versus others. Turns out the western side of town were mostly local Chapel Hillians, eastern side of town was university people from all over the place. I really think of myself as a social cultural historian, I’m really interested in trying to take people who, whose stories aren’t as well documented, and aren’t as well known, and giving them flesh and blood and shine understand their place in making the world we live in today.

KC: Great, thank you for that. Alright, so before we wrap up, I want to ask one last question that we ask all of our guests. What is a book that changed your life?

JS: Books have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I went to graduate school to study with Natalie Zemon Davis, because I had been so inspired by her book The Return of Martin Guerre, which tells a story of a man who returned from war in early modern France, move back in with his wife, etc. Only it’s not exactly clear that the man calling himself Martin Guerre, really was Martin Guerre. Maybe he’s an imposter. Who really is he? Does it really matter? More recently, I was really affected by Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking, which was a memoir, she wrote about her response to the death of her husband. And when my father died, I found real solace in that book. And I think it also helped me better support my mother.

KC: I always appreciate when I can find solace within a book and in different ways. So thank you for sharing that. And thank you again, John, for joining us and coming on to the podcast and sharing not just about your newest book, but also the rest of your history and your work as well. So thank you again for being with us today.

JS: Well, thank you, Kristen. It was a real pleasure.

KC: Thanks for listening to this latest episode of the institute podcast. As we mentioned, John has additional materials related to the sewing girls tale on his website, We have a link to that website and his book at our website There you can find the latest news featuring arts and humanities fellows, information about grants and leadership development opportunities for all UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, and spotlights on upcoming public events. All of our podcasts episodes are available at our website and you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, and more.

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