This website uses cookies to understand how you use the website and to improve your experience. By continuing to use the website, you accept the University of New England’s use of cookies and similar technologies. To learn more about our use of cookies and how to manage your browser cookie settings, please review our Privacy Notice.


Elizabeth De Wolfe publishes article on sensational fiction

Elizabeth De Wolfe's latest article is published in Nursing Clio, a collaborative blog
Elizabeth De Wolfe's latest article is published in Nursing Clio, a collaborative blog

August 20, 2019

Elizabeth De Wolfe, Ph.D., professor of history and co-founder of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, recently published an article on true crime inspired sensational fiction in Nursing Clio, an open access, peer-reviewed, collaborative blog project that ties historical scholarship to present-day issues related to gender and medicine.

According to De Wolfe, true crime-based accounts in mid-nineteenth-century sensational fiction, published in inexpensive, lurid pamphlet-novellas with bright yellow covers, exposed the dangers of the big, bad city for country girls turned cash-earning urban workers.

In her article “Disappointed Love and Dangerous Temptations: Textile Factories and True Crime,” DeWolfe writes, “What these cautionary tales truly exposed was a cultural uncertainty about women in the workforce. In tale after tale, naïve, and sometimes disobedient, young women drifted away from their ideal future of marriage and motherhood, falling victim to seduction and its attendant specter of abortion.”

True-crime inspired sensational fiction featuring working women continued beyond the 1860s, when the workforce of New England textile mills shifted from native-born white New Englanders to immigrant laborers. 

DeWolfe has taught and served the UNE community for 23 years. Her research interests are in 19th century American women’s history. She has several notable works including The Murder of Mary Bean and Other Stories.

Groups audience: