July 16, 2010
Elizabeth De Wolfe, Ph.D., professor of history, has published a new book, Domestic Broils: Shakers, Antebellum Marriage, and the Narratives of Mary and Joseph Dyer (University of Massachusetts Press).
This work republishes for the first time in nearly 200 years, the He Said - She Said narratives of Joseph and Mary Dyer who joined the Shakers in the first years of the 19th century. Mary Dyer, unsatisfied with Shakerism, abandoned the communal group. Joseph stayed -- and kept custody of the Dyers' five children. In their subsequent battle over custody, property and divorce, Mary and Joseph both took to print to argue their case before a court of public opinion, each publishing a pamphlet accusing the other of immoral behavior and heinous beliefs. Domestic Broils reprints both of the Dyers' very popular works and includes De Wolfe's introduction setting these important works into their historical and cultural context. Domestic Broils is the second work on the Dyer dispute De Wolfe has published. Her biography of Mary Dyer's lengthy anti-Shaker campaign, Shaking the Faith (Palgrave MacMillan 2002), received the 2003 Outstanding Publication Award from the Communal Studies Association.