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Sarah Gray Cary from Boston to Grenada

, 248 pages

9 b&w illus., 2 maps

March 2018



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Sarah Gray Cary from Boston to Grenada

Shifting Fortunes of an American Family, 1764-1826

The Cary family of Chelsea, Massachusetts, prospered as plantation owners and managers for nearly two decades in the West Indies before the Grenada slave revolts of 1795–1796 upended the sugar trade. Sarah Gray Cary used her quick intelligence and astute judgment to help her family adapt to their shifting fortunes. From Samuel Cary’s departure from Boston to St. Kitts in 1764 to the second generation’s search for trade throughout the West Indies, Susan Clair Imbarrato tells the compelling story of the Cary family from prosperity and crisis to renewal.

Drawing on a wealth of archival material, this engaging book describes how Sarah Cary managed households in both Grenada and Chelsea while raising thirteen children. In particular, Imbarrato examines Sarah’s correspondence with her sons Samuel and Lucius, in which they address family matters, share opinions on political and social events, discuss literature and philosophy, and speculate about business.

Sarah Gray Cary from Boston to Grenada offers a rare female perspective on colonial America and Caribbean plantation life and provides a unique view of a seminal period of early American history.

Susan Clair Imbarrato is a professor of English at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She is the author of Traveling Women: Narrative Visions of Early America and Declarations of Independency in Eighteenth-Century American Autobiography.

"An individual family’s rise and fall in an evolving and often alarming Atlantic empire is told through the letters of its female members and brought to life by Imbarrato’s vivid storytelling."

"This book is an excellent addition to early Caribbean studies. Imbarrato provides an insightful close analysis of one remarkable family’s correspondence as they live and travel throughout the English-speaking Atlantic world, commenting thoughtfully on issues of identity, education, gender, race, and slavery."

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