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Book Talk at Thomas Balch Library

Wednesday June 03, 2015

Cassandra Good, Associate Editor of the Papers of James Monroe at the University of Mary Washington, will be participating in a book talk and signing at Leesburg’s Thomas Balch Library on June 3rd. She is the author of “Founding Friendships: Friendships between Men and Women in the Early American Republic” (Oxford University Press, 2015). The program, sponsored by The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, will begin at 7:00 p.m.

In Founding Friendships , Cassandra A. Good engages in the question of whether friendships between men and women are possible by reviewing it from a historical context. That question has been debated in this country since its birth. Indeed, many of the nation's founding fathers had female friends but popular rhetoric held that these relationships were fraught with social danger, if not impossible.

Elite men and women formed loving, politically significant friendships in the early national period that were crucial to the individuals' lives as well as the formation of a new national political system, as Cassandra Good illuminates. Abigail Adams called her friend Thomas Jefferson "one of the choice ones on earth," while George Washington signed a letter to his friend Elizabeth Powel with the words "I am always Yours." Their emotionally rich language is often mistaken for romance, but by analyzing period letters, diaries, novels, and etiquette books, Good reveals that friendships between men and women were quite common. At a time when personal relationships were deeply political, these bonds offered both parties affection and practical assistance as well as exemplified republican values of choice, freedom, equality, and virtue. In so doing, these friendships embodied the core values of the new nation and represented a transitional moment in gender and culture.

Northern and Southern, famous and lesser known, the men and women examined in Founding Friendships  offer a fresh look at how the founding generation defined and experienced friendship, love, gender, and power.

Good received her PhD in history from the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in American Studies from George Washington University. Her area of expertise is late eighteenth through nineteenth century American history with particular focus on gender and cultural history.  She has worked with a number of museums, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Freer & Sackler Galleries, and Museum of the American Revolution.  Cassandra has presented her work broadly at national conferences and recently served as the women's history month speaker at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing after the program. Pre-registration is encouraged as limited space is available. To register, or for more information, visit


  • Thomas Balch Library
  • 208 West Market Street
  • Leesburg, 20176
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