Dallett Hemphill of Ursinus College passed away yesterday. Few details surrounding her death have been made public.
Those of you who knew Dallett or her work will be devastated by this news. Anyone affiliated with the McNeil Center for Early American Studies knows that she was a fixture at the Center's Friday seminars. She was one of the most intellectually curious people I have ever encountered.
Dallett was one of the outside readers of my book The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America. She took the job seriously, providing the University of Pennsylvania Press with a three or four pages of single-space commentary on the manuscript. I will always appreciate the way she championed this book and encouraged me in the process. You can read her blurb here.
Dallett will be remembered for her two major books: Bowing to Necessities: A History of Manners in America, 1620-1860 (Oxford, 1999) and Siblings: Brothers and Sisters in American History (Oxford, 2011). She was also, by all reports, a committed undergraduate mentor and teacher at Ursinus. For the last several years she served as editor of Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
This is a huge loss for the early American history community.