Eliza Harriot was a path-breaking female educator and the first public female lecturer; her courageous performance likely inspired the gender-neutral language of the Constitution. Hear about her transatlantic life in this lecture by author Mary Sarah Bilder.

A reception and book signing will take place after the lecture. 

This event is part of the 2022 Michelle Smith Lecture Series. Receive discounted pricing when you register for all 3 lectures.

Member Tickets

In-Person Virtual

General Public Tickets

In-Person Virtual

The Michelle Smith Lecture Series is supported by an endowment established by a generous grant from the late Robert H. and Clarice Smith.

Add to Calendar 05/05/2022 19:00:00 05/05/2022 20:00:00 America/New_York Female Genius: Eliza Harriot and George Washington

Eliza Harriot was a path-breaking female educator and the first public female lecturer; her courageous performance likely inspired the gender-neutral language of the Constitution. Hear about her transatlantic life in this lecture by author Mary Sarah Bilder.

A reception and book signing will take place after the lecture. 

This event is part of the 2022 Michelle Smith Lecture Series. Receive discounted pricing when you register for all 3 lectures.

Member Tickets

In-Person Virtual

General Public Tickets

In-Person Virtual

The Michelle Smith Lecture Series is supported by an endowment established by a generous grant from the late Robert H. and Clarice Smith.

George Washington's Mount Vernon George Washington's Mount Vernon tickets@mountvernon.org MM/DD/YYYY 15

Special Event Showing On

Cost

Individual Lectures:
In-person: $55 for members, $60 for non-members
Virtual: $15 for members, $20 for non-members

3-Lecture Series:
In-person: $150 for members, $175 for non-members
Virtual: $40 for members, $55 for non-members

Location

In-person Attendees:
David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall located in the Washington Library

Virtual Attendees:
Tune in to our online broadcast

The Michelle Smith Lecture Series

Online Event
On-site event

Female Genius

This provocative new biography looks to the 1780s—the Age of the Constitution—to investigate the rise of a radical new idea in the English-speaking world: female genius.

The perfect exemplar of this phenomenon was Eliza Harriot Barons O’Connor, a path-breaking female educator who delivered a University of Pennsylvania lecture attended by George Washington as he and other Constitutional Convention delegates gathered in Philadelphia. As the first such public female lecturer, her courageous performance likely inspired the gender-neutral language of the Constitution.

Female Genius reconstructs Eliza Harriot’s transatlantic life, from Lisbon to Charleston, paying particular attention to her lectures and to the academies she founded, inspiring countless young American women to consider a college education and a role in the political forum.

In recovering this pioneering life, the richly illustrated Female Genius makes clear that America’s framing moment did not belong solely to white men and offers an inspirational transatlantic history of women who believed in education as a political right.

Mary Sarah Bilder

Mary Sarah Bilder is the Founders Professor of Law at Boston College Law School where she teaches in the areas of property, trusts and estates, and American legal and constitutional history.

She is the author of the Bancroft Prize–winning Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention, which was also a finalist for the 2017 George Washington Prize.

Contact

Stephen A. McLeod

Director, Library Programs

703.799.8686

smcleod@mountvernon.org

Share this event

#gwmountvernon

Login
Buy Tickets What to Do Calendar Shop Restaurant Support Membership
Estate Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save