The book reviews from the July 2007 issue of the William & Mary Quarterly aren’t online yet, so you’ll have to take my word for it that Barry Levy of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst says:
J. L. Bell persuasively analyzes the central role that independent children played in patriotic Boston mobs before the Revolution.That’s in response to my article “From Saucy Boys to Sons of Liberty: Politicizing Youth in Pre-Revolutionary Boston,” in Children in Colonial America, a book of essays and readings assembled by James Marten for New York University Press. It appears in Prof. Levy’s review of that book alongside Emmy E. Werner’s In Pursuit of Liberty: Coming of Age in the American Revolution, from Greenwood Press.
[ADDENDUM: Levy’s review is now available for downloading from this page.]
Back in 2002 I corresponded with Dr. Werner about sources on children at the Tea Party and Lexington and Concord, and I look forward to seeing what she’s chosen to discuss as part of her theme of psychological resilience.
Alas, a peek on Google Books indicates Werner fell for the “Dorothy Dudley” diary of Cambridge in 1775-76, actually composed one hundred years later by Mary Williams Greely and published as Theatrum Majorum: The Cambridge of 1776. Mary Beth Norton discussed this source in a 1976 letter to the William & Mary Quarterly and a 1998 Journal of Women’s History article titled “Getting to the Source: Hetty Shepard, Dorothy Dudley, and Other Fictional Colonial Women I Have Come to Know Altogether Too Well.” One of the giveaways that the “Dudley” diary is fictional is that it spends too much space on political and military developments that a teenage girl wouldn’t have been privy to, and too little space on her personal life. That could limit the damage to Werner’s conclusions if she’s used the “Dudley” account simply to move events along rather than to discuss a girl’s response to them.
On Friday morning, I’ll take my “From Saucy Boys to Sons of Liberty” show on the road to the Paul Revere House, where I’ll lead a workshop for elementary-school teachers. My two biggest challenges will be boiling down my material and getting up early.