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A Self-determined Story

Life August 2010 Settle down with The Captain’s Widow of Sandwich: Self-Invention and the Life of Hannah Rebecca Burgess, 1834-1917 ($45) and acquaint yourself with some captivating local history. Author Megan Taylor Shockley delves into the true story of the spouse of a Sandwich sea captain. Digging into primary sources, Shockley masterfully crafts a portrait of the widow, unearthing her resourceful character’s fascinating story. As a woman who commandeered her dying husband’s ship single-handedly and refused several second marriage proposals after his death, Burgess defied the traditional gender roles of her day. Despite this, she seemingly lived quite comfortably within the social constructs of the Victorian era. The biography opens a window into the complexity of the Victorian Age and the drama of Cape Cod’s famous seafaring past. For more details, visit nyupress.org.

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