Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Women of the Revolution


Price: $75 for OLLI Members    $95 for non-members

Dates & Time: Monday, Apr 8, 15, 22, & 29    9:00-11:00

Class Type: Online

Instructor: Richard Bell

26 in stock

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Course Description

The revolutionary war was fought on battlefields, in forests, and on the homefront—and the contributions of American women shaped the fight at every turn. They did this in every way imaginable, and while some prospered and thrived when the war came, others faltered and fell. Many American women fought for the patriot cause while almost as many others fought to stop them. The incredible spectrum of female participation in America’s founding conflict defies easy categorization and reminds us that the legacy of the revolution for American women was not simple, single, or remotely cut and dried.

This four-part course examines the varied roles of women in the American Revolution. Lecture one explores the life of Jane Mecom, the beloved but beggared sister of Benjamin Franklin whose rollercoaster ride through the American Revolution illuminates the experiences of other women on society’s bottom ranks. Lecture two turns to the homefront and uses the wartime labors of Mary Silliman, a Connecticut homemaker and mother, to understand the ways that ordinary women kept families and farms together while the war raged around them.

Lecture three pushes deep into the war itself to reconstruct the wartime experiences of Deborah Sampson, the 21-year-old weaver who disguised herself as a man to serve 17 distinguished months in George Washington’s Continental Army. The final lecture then follows the story of the American Revolution into the Early Republic, using the life of Maine midwife Martha Ballard to understand how women’s lives changed—and stayed the same—after the patriots won the war.



Additional information

Course Term


Day of the Week



Richard Bell, PhD, Harvard University, BA, University of Cambridge

Event Type


Event Details

Date: 2024-04-08

Start time: 09:00 a.m. PST

End time: 11:00 a.m. PST

Venue: Online


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