“A curious font of porphyry”

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 3.29.59 AMWorking on material culture, my research has taken me to some interesting, if unexpected places. Last summer, it involved waiting outside Saint John’s Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, founded in 1732 as the Anglican Queen’s Chapel. I quickly ran inside to snap some pictures of a baptismal font between back-to-back Sunday services. The Saint John’s font is an impressive fixture, carved from marble in a Continental European baroque style. As a ritual object used in the sacrament of baptism, the font is hardly unusual, but its story is. Continue reading

Review: Kyle T. Bulthuis, Four Steeples over the City Streets

Kyle T. Bulthuis, Four Steeples over the City Streets: Religion and Society in New York’s Early Republic Congregations. New York: New York University Press, 2014.

foursteeplesIn many respects, Four Steeples over the City Streets is a story about different ways of being Anglican in New York City. It’s also a story about how external social changes influenced and threatened a vision of social order without destroying it. And it’s a story about how different kinds of New Yorkers in the early republic–black and white and male and female–experienced their community in religious terms. Continue reading

The Problem of Virginia’s Colonial Establishment

I’ve been reading, writing, and thinking about Virginia’s colonial Anglican establishment since I entered graduate school (back when the Galactica had just uncovered the fate of Earth and Lehman Brothers was still short-selling subprime mortgages).  This work led me to decide to write a dissertation on the religious politics and fate of the colonial establishments in the post-Revolutionary Chesapeake.  Beginning the real work on my dissertation, however, has hammered home one important insight: despite all that reading I still don’t have a real sense of what the hell was going with Virginia’s colonial establishment. Continue reading