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Saturday, January 11, 2014

New volume on Married Women's Property and Coverture from MQUP

Married Women and the Law: Coverture and the Common Law World, edited by Tim Stretton and Krista J. Kesselring has just been announced by McGill-Queen's University Press.

Here's the publisher's blurb:

Explaining the curious legal doctrine of "coverture," William Blackstone famously declared that "by marriage, husband and wife are one person at law." This "covering" of a wife's legal identity by her husband meant that the greatest subordination of women to men developed within marriage. In England and its colonies, generations of judges, legislators, and husbands invoked coverture to limit married women's rights and property, but there was no monolithic concept of coverture and their justifications shifted to fit changing times: Were husband and wife lord and subject? Master and servant? Guardian and ward? Or one person at law?

The essays in Married Women and the Law offer new insights into the legal effects of marriage for women from medieval to modern times. Focusing on the years prior to the passage of the Divorce Acts and Married Women's Property Acts in the late nineteenth century, contributors examine a variety of jurisdictions in the common law world, from civil courts to ecclesiastical and criminal courts. By bringing together studies of several common law jurisdictions over a span of centuries, they show how similar legal rules persisted and developed in different environments. This volume reveals not only legal changes and the women who creatively used or subverted coverture, but also astonishing continuities. - See more at:
Accessibly written and coherently presented, Married Women and the Law is an important look at the persistence of one of the longest lived ideas in British legal history.
Contributors include Sara M. Butler (Loyola), Marisha Caswell (Queen’s), Mary Beth Combs (Fordham), Angela Fernandez (Toronto), Margaret Hunt (Amherst), Kim Kippen (Toronto), Natasha Korda (Wesleyan), Lindsay Moore (Boston), Barbara J. Todd (Toronto), and Danaya C. Wright (Florida). - See more at:
And the table of contents:
1 Introduction: Coverture and Continuity 3
Tim Stretton and Krista J. Kesselring
2 Discourse on the Nature of Coverture in the Later Medieval Courtroom 24
Sara M. Butler
3 Coverture and Its Discontents: Legal Fictions on and off the Early Modern English Stage 45
Natasha Korda
4 Poor Law, Coverture, and Maintaining Relations in King’s Bench, 1601-1834 64
Kim Kippen
5 Coverture and the Criminal Law in England, 1640-1760 88
Marisha Caswell
6 Women and Property Litigation in Seventeenth-Century England and North America 113
Lindsay Moore
7 The Sailor’s Wife, War Finance, and Coverture in Late Seventeenth-Century London 139
Margaret R. Hunt
8 Written in Her Heart: Married Women’s Separate Allegiance in English Law 163
Barbara J. Todd
9 Tapping Reeve, Nathan Dane, and James Kent: Three Fading Federalists on Marital Unity 192
Angela Fernandez
10 “Concealing Him from Creditors”: How Couples Contributed to the Passage of the 1870 Married Women’s Property Act 217
Mary Beth Combs
11 Coverture and Women’s Agency: Informal Modes of Resistance to Legal Patriarchy 240
Danaya C. Wright
- See more at:!prettyPhoto

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