Archives of Desire

The Queer Historical Work of New England Regionalism

By J. Samaine Lockwood

238 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 15 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2536-2
    Published: November 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2537-9
    Published: September 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4910-6
    Published: September 2015

Gender and American Culture

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Awards & distinctions

A 2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

In this thought-provoking study of nineteenth-century America, J. Samaine Lockwood offers an important new interpretation of the literary movement known as American regionalism. Lockwood argues that regionalism in New England was part of a widespread woman-dominated effort to rewrite history. Lockwood demonstrates that New England regionalism was an intellectual endeavor that overlapped with colonial revivalism and included fiction and history writing, antique collecting, colonial home restoration, and photography. The cohort of writers and artists leading this movement included Sarah Orne Jewett, Alice Morse Earle, and C. Alice Baker, and their project was taken up by women of a younger generation, such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, who extended regionalism through the modernist moment.

Lockwood draws on a diverse archive that includes fiction, material culture, collecting guides, and more. Showing how these women intellectuals aligned themselves with a powerful legacy of social and cultural dissent, Lockwood reveals that New England regionalism performed queer historical work, placing unmarried women and their myriad desires at the center of both regional and national history.

About the Author

J. Samaine Lockwood is associate professor of English at George Mason University.
For more information about J. Samaine Lockwood, visit the Author Page.


“In this sophisticated, impeccably researched volume, Lockwood demonstrates how in the period 1865-1915, both well-known and obscure New England women represented and performed ‘history’ in literary and historiographic texts and in creating heritage tourist sites. Essential.”--Choice

"All scholars of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, not just those interested in literary regionalism, gender and sexuality studies, material culture, or performance studies will benefit from reading this volume.”--Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature

“Lockwood's contribution to literary and historical studies of nineteenth-century America is multifaceted.”--New England Quarterly

“Lockwood deftly reveals how much ‘spectral fusions’ performed the most intimate historicism of all, as past women’s lives haunted and inhabited the very bodies of their unmarried subjects”--American Historical Review

"Archives of Desire is filled with ingenious scholarship and dazzling re-creations of the past. The women J. Samaine Lockwood describes are not merely curators of vanishing histories, but also narrators of intimate domestic issues that shape the present and create connections between the past and the near future. A new standard in gender studies." --Stephanie Foote, University of Illinois Champaign–Urbana

"In this landmark contribution to the study of American history and literary culture at the turn of the twentieth century, J. Samaine Lockwood offers a nuanced analysis of New England’s ties to the nation and its queer past. The women at the heart of this book were revolutionary, intriguing, sexual, and often radical. Archives of Desire chronicles their legacies of dissent.” --Marjorie Pryse, University at Albany, State University of New York