Conversations at the Washington Library is a weekly podcast about early American history and the people who teach it.

Birthing a Nation

In this episode, Associate Curator Jessie MacLeod sits down with Library research fellow Sara Collini to discuss her latest findings on the topic titled, Birthing a Nation: Enslaved Women and Midwifery in Early America, 1750-1820.

Sara Collini is a Ph.D. candidate in history at George Mason University whose research explores the lives and work of enslaved midwives in the late colonial and early national periods. Her work examines how these women used their medical skills to both support African American families and, paradoxically, strengthen the expanding slave system. Collini received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and her M.A. in history from George Mason University. 

Jessie MacLeod is an Associate Curator at Mount Vernon, where she has worked since 2012. She was the lead curator for the landmark exhibition Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and a contributor to the accompanying publication. She is also responsible for developing special exhibits across the estate, managing Mount Vernon’s collection of historic prints, and researching the Mansion’s 18th-century furnishings.

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