The House in the Cemetery Podcast Series

Episode 2: "My Dear Ann:" Class, Gender, and Family in the Life of Ann Hamilton Lyle

Benjamin West.  Portrait of William Hamilton and Ann Hamilton Lyle   ,  oil on canvas, 1745-1813 (Historical Society of Pennsylvania,   Philadelphia).

Benjamin West. Portrait of William Hamilton and Ann Hamilton Lyle oil on canvas, 1745-1813 (Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia).

William Hamilton, wealthy owner of The Woodlands and amateur botanist, fawned over his favorite niece, Ann. What happened when she spurned his advice and married James Lyle? Find out in “My Dear Ann:” Class, Gender, and Family in the Life of Ann Hamilton.

What You’ll Discover

  • Ann’s education and upbringing
  • Her marriage to James Lyle and her subsequent estrangement from her uncle William
  • What her experiences can tell us about the changing roles of women in the late 1700’s

Primary Exposure
In this segment, we look at a 1792 letter from Jasper Yeates, a lawyer and businessman who worked for William Hamilton. In this letter, Jasper writes to his wife about Ann’s upcoming marriage and the turmoil it caused.

Further Reading
Sarah E. Fatherly, “‘The Sweet Recourse of Reason:’ Elite Women's Education in Colonial Philadelphia”
Catherine Kelly, A Republic of Taste: Art, Politics, and Everyday Life in Early America
Lucia McMahon, Mere Equals: The Paradox of Educated Women in the Early American Republic

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About the podcaster: Jubilee Marshall is an undergraduate student at Villanova University. She studies History and Peace and Justice.


This podcast is part of "The House in the Cemetery" project, part of the Villanova Public History Program. More information about this project can be found here.