Dr Elizabeth Clapp

Associate Professor in American History

School/Department: History Politics and International Relations, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2815



I studied at the University of London receiving my BA from Bedford College and my PhD from University College.

While I was a PhD student I spent a year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the USA. I have taught at the universities of Birmingham and East Anglia and since 1993 at the University of Leicester.

I have undertaken many administrative roles including Sub-Dean in the former Faculty of Arts Director of Learning and Teaching in History and HyPIR and a member of many appeals panels and university committees.

My research often takes me to the United States where I work on American history. I am particularly interested in the involvement of women in public life in the nineteenth century and have worked in many archives and libraries across the US.


My research field is in the history of nineteenth-century American women. My particular interests are in the participation of early nineteenth-century women in partisan politics. I have written on white women's involvement in the early settlement of Kentucky which was based on research conducted during a fellowship at the Filson Historical Society in Kentucky and partially funded by a British Academy Small Research Grant. I also received funding from the AHRC to complete my biography of Anne Royall a travel writer and commentator on politics and religion in Jacksonian America. My current research activities include work on female domestic travellers in the early republic and women's political participation in the 1820s and '30s.


Elizabeth J. Clapp, A Notorious Woman: Anne Royall in Jacksonian America (University of Virginia Press, 2016)
-- Mothers of All Children: Women Reformers and the Rise of Juvenile Courts in Progressive Era America (Penn State Press, 1998)
--- and Julie Roy Jeffrey, eds., Women, Dissent and Anti-Slavery in Britain and America, 1790-1865 (Oxford University Press, 2011)
-- "'Where I first knew the nature of care:" Women and violence on the late 18th century frontier", American Nineteenth Century History, 16 (March 2015), pp. 59-81
-- "The Woman's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1920", in S.J. Kleinberg, E. Boris and V.L. Ruiz, eds, The Practice of U.S. Women's History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues (Rutgers University Press, 2007), pp. 238-257
-- "The Boundaries of Femininity: The Travels and Writing of Mrs. Anne Royall, 1823-1831," American Nineteenth Century History, 4 (Fall 2003), pp. 1-28
-- '"A Virago-Errant in Enchanted Armor?': Anne Royall's 1829 trial as a Common Scold," Journal of the Early Republic, 23 (Summer 2003), pp. 207-232
-- "Women and the Creation of the Chicago Juvenile Court in the 1890s," in T. Brotherstone (ed.), Gendering Scottish History: an international approach (Cruithne Press, 1999), pp. 216-33
-- "Welfare and the Role of Women: The Juvenile Court Movement,' Journal of American Studies, 28 (December 1994), pp. 359-383
--"The Personal Touch? Ben Lindsey and the Denver Juvenile Court,' Mid-America 75 (April-July 1993), pp. 197-221



American women's and gender history particularly subjects focused on the nineteenth century. Topics might include the social reforms of the Progressive Era the American women's suffrage movement women's participation in nineteenth-century American public life.

I have supervised or co-supervised PhDs on among other topics the legacy of Elizabeth Cady Stanton; vagabonds in early nineteenth-century America; women in the Civil Rights Movement.


I teach mostly nineteenth-century American history on the BA History and associated joint degrees including BA History and American Studies.

Examples of modules I have taught recently include: 'Women in American Society from the Civil war to the First World War'

'Ideals of Womanhood in 19th Century America'

'Domestic Revolutions: Women Men and the Family in American History'

MA module: 'American Freedoms'

Press and media

American nineteenth century women's history


Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Member of: Society for Historians of the Early American Republic; Organization of American Historians; British American Nineteenth Century Historians

Conference Secretary for the BrANCH annual conference 2021 and 2022


""A Petticoat Patriot is at least equal to a trouserloon traitor.""' Anne Royall and the Politics of the 1830s. Paper presented at the SHEAR annual conference Cleveland OH July 19-22 2018

"How can my sex be so blind to those wicked priests?" Anne Royall and the subversion of the evangelical cause in Jacksonian America.' Paper presented at the BrANCH annual conference Madingley Hall Cambridge October 2016

Invited commentator on SHEAR conference panel: ""On the Rocks: Testing the Bonds of Early Republican Relationships"" Society for Historians of the Early Republic (SHEAR) annual conference New Haven Conn. July 2016 


Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
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