Dr Elizabeth Clapp

Associate Professor in American History

  • Elizabeth ClappOffice: Attenborough 614
  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2815
  • Feedback and Support Times (Semester 1, 2020-21): By appointment only
  • Dissertation Hour (Semester 1, 2020-21): By appointment only

Personal details

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.

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 most recently held a visiting fellowship at the Filson Historical Society in Kentucky.


    Examples of the modules that I teach:
  • Women in American Society from the Civil war to the First World War (Not Taught in 2015/16)
  • Ideals of Womanhood in 19th Century America
  • Domestic Revolutions: Women, Men and the Family in American History



  1. Elizabeth J. Clapp and Julie Roy Jeffrey, eds., Women, Dissent and Anti-Slavery in Britain and America, 1790-186Women, Dissent and Anti-slavery5 (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  2. Elizabeth Clapp, A Notorious Woman: Anne Royall and the Political Culture of Jacksonian America (University of Virginia Press)
  3. Future research projects include a study of the travel diary of a late eighteenth-century woman, as well as further exploration into women's political participation in the early republic.

Recent publications

  1. "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
  2. Elizabeth Clapp, 'Where I first knew the nature of care:" Women and violence on the late 18th century frontier' in(American Nineteenth Century History
  3. Elizabeth Clapp, 'Mrs. Smith's travel journal in a family context' in American Nineteenth Century History
  4. Elizabeth Clapp, 'Early Women Alone on the Late Eighteenth-Century American Frontier' American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  5. "American Women", in Howard Temperley and Chris Bigsby, eds, A New Introduction to American Studies (Pearson Education, 2006), pp. 326–351
  6. "Black Books and Southern Tours: Tone and Perspective in the Travel Writing of Mrs. Anne Royall," Yearbook of English Studies, 34 (2004), pp. 61–73
  7. "The Boundaries of Femininity: The Travels and Writing of Mrs. Anne Royall, 1823-1831," American Nineteenth Century History, 4 (Fall 2003), pp. 1–28
  8. '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
  9. Mothers of All Children: Women Reformers and the Rise of the Juvenile Courts in Progressive Era America (Penn State University Press, 1998)
  10. "Welfare and the Role of Women: The Juvenile Court Movement,' Journal of American Studies, 28 (December 1994), pp. 359–383
  11. 'The Personal Touch? Ben Lindsey and the Denver Juvenile Court,' Mid-America 75 (April-July 1993), pp. 197–221
  12. '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
  13. "The General Federation of Women's Clubs and American Social Welfare in the Progressive Era," American Studies Journal, 44 (Winter 1999/Spring 2000), pp. 7–16
  14. I have also contributed a number of entries to Peter Parish (ed.), The Reader's Guide to American History (Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997)
  15. Online article: " A larger Motherhood is Required": The Development of a Female Reform Tradition in Nineteenth-Century America
  16. Online article: The Chicago Juvenile Court Movement in the 1890s



My main research interests lie in the field of nineteenth-century American women's history. I have worked in the past on women reformers in the Progressive Era and their influence in the creation of the early American welfare state, with a concentration on the origins of the juvenile courts.

More recently, my work has moved back in time to explore the involvement of women in the party politics of early nineteenth-century America, at a time when it has been assumed that women were excluded from all political activity. It examines the ways in which women could and did become active political agents in this period. I am particularly concerned with the strategies women used to stretch the limits of acceptable female behaviour and what happened to them if they overstepped those boundaries.

I am just completing a monograph on women and the political culture of Jacksonian America, drawing on the example of Anne Royall (1769–1854), an outspoken supporter of Andrew Jackson and critic of his enemies, to illustrate women's involvement in the partisan politics of this period.

Future research projects include a study of the travel diary of a late eighteenth-century woman, as well as further exploration into women's political participation in the early republic.


  • American women's and gender history, particularly those focused on the nineteenth century
  • social reforms of the Progressive Era

    Share this page: