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  • Morven Museum & Garden Press Release

"The Education of Betsey Stockton Press Release From The Morven Museum & Garden" Princeton NJ

Pictured above is Missionary Betsey Stockton

About the Book from the Publisher:

A perceptive and inspiring biography of an extraordinary woman born into slavery who, through grit and determination, became a historical social and educational leader.

"The life of Betsey Stockton (ca. 1798–1865) is a remarkable story of a Black woman’s journey from slavery to emancipation, from antebellum New Jersey to the Hawai‘ian Islands, and from her own self-education to a lifetime of teaching others—all told against the backdrop of the early United States’ pervasive racism. It’s a compelling chronicle of a critical time in American history and a testament to the courage and commitment of a woman whose persistence grew into a potent form of resistance.

Above is a picture of Rev Ashbel Green's wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Stockton-Green.

When Betsey Stockton was a child, she was “given, as a slave” to the household of Rev. Ashbel Green, a prominent pastor and later the president of what is now Princeton University. Although she never went to school, she devoured the books in Green’s library. After being emancipated, she used that education to benefit other people of color, first in Hawai‘i as a missionary, then in Philadelphia, and, for the last three decades of her life, Princeton—a college town with a genteel veneer that never fully hid its racial hostility.

AboveThe Stockton Mansion, unknown artist. Appleton’s Journal, December 25, 1875. Morven was built by Richard Stockton (1730–1781), cousin of Robert Stockton. Richard was a signer of the Declaration of Independence in the 1750s on property granted to his grandfather by William Penn (1644–1718) in 1701.

Betsey Stockton became a revered figure in Princeton’s sizeable Black population, a founder of religious and educational institutions, and a leader engaged in the day-to-day business of building communities.

Above "In 1823, Queen Ka’ahumanu and six high chiefs requested to be baptized as Christians. She then banned prostitution and drunkenness, resulting in western sailors resenting the missionaries’ influence." Queen Ka'ahumanu was a friend and convert of Missionary Betsey Stockton.

In this first book-length telling of Betsey Stockton’s story, Gregory Nobles illuminates both a woman and her world, following her around the globe, and showing how a determined individual could challenge her society’s racial obstacles from the ground up. It’s at once a revealing lesson on the struggles of Stockton’s times and a fresh inspiration for our own."

About the Author:

Gregory Nobles is a Professor Emeritus of history at Georgia Tech. His teaching and research focus on early American history and environmental history. At Georgia Tech, in addition to teaching, he served as Associate Dean of the Ivan Allen College from 1994 to 1996 and Chair of the School of History, Technology, and Society from 1996 to 2001, and was the Founding Director of the Georgia Tech Honors Program (2005-2014). He has held two Fulbright professorships, as Senior Scholar in New Zealand and as the John Adams Chair in American History in The Netherlands. He has received grants for his research from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and residential fellowships at the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University, the American Antiquarian Society, the Huntington Library, the Princeton University Library, and the Newberry Library.

In 2004 Professor Nobles was named to the Distinguished Lectureship Program of the Organization of American Historians and, for 2005-2008, was elected to the Advisory Council of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR); more recently, he has also served SHEAR as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Early Republic and as a member of the SHEAR Book Prize committee.

After retiring from Georgia Tech, Nobles was the 2016-2017 Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American Antiquarian Society. During the 2018-2019 academic year, the Robert C. Ritchie Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

He is also the author of John James Audubon: The Nature of the American Woodsman, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2017."

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