Female husbands

Hot Seltzer Productions Presents the trailer for “Female Husbands: A Trans History”

Review, The Times Literary Supplement June 2020
Interview, NEXT New England June 2020
Review, History Today May 2020
Feature, Aeon May 2020
Talk (14 minute lecture on book), History Summit May 2020
Review, Times Higher Education April 2020
Review, Manhattan Book Review April 2020
Interview, Foreword This Week April 2020
Books, Windy City Times April 2020
Write Now, The Writing Cooperative April 2020
Review, Foreword April 2020
Singular They, AHA Perspectives April 2020
Excerpt, Public Seminar April 2020
11 Queer Books We Can’t Wait to Read, NewNowNext March 2020
Review, The Sunday Times (UK) March 2020
Interview, Philadelphia Gay News March 2020
Books, The Daily Hampshire Gazette March 2020
Excerpt, LGBTQ Nation February 2020
Feature, BBC World Histories Magazine March/April 2020

Available at CUP for 20% off w/ code MANION20 or your local bookstore via IndieBound or Bookshop


Jen Manion is Associate Professor of History at Amherst College and author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (Penn, 2015) which received the inaugural Mary Kelley Best Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. Their new book, Female Husbands: A Trans History (Cambridge, 2020) was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities at the American Antiquarian Society. Manion is co-editor of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (2004) with Jim Downs and is currently working on a two-volume series, The Cambridge History of Sexuality in the United States, Volume I: Early America and Volume II: Modern America, with co-editor Nicholas Syrett (Cambridge University Press, under contract). Prior to joining Amherst College, she worked for ten years at Connecticut College as a faculty member in the history department and founding director of the LGBTQ Resource Center. Jen received a PhD in history from Rutgers University and a BA in history with an English minor from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude.

(media note: if you are wondering about pronouns, feel free to refer to me by my name, they/them, or she/her)

Teaching & Service

My approach to history is informed by queer, feminist, and critical race theories — while remaining anchored in the archives. My main teaching fields include:

Revolutionary America
U.S. Carceral Culture
History of Sexuality
Transgender Studies/Histories
Race, Gender, and Sexuality in U.S. History
LGBTQ History in Popular Culture

Teaching Tools for LGBTQ History

Transgender Children in Antebellum America
Pennsylvania LGBTQ Histories
Histories of Sexuality & the Carceral State at Notches



My research in American history centers on social and cultural histories of poor, marginalized, and otherwise ordinary people. My first book was a social history of the founding of the penitentiary in the United States that centered women and paid close attention to how race, class, gender, and sexuality shaped the process. Many concerns that define contemporary debates about mass incarceration were evident in the policies that governed punishment over two hundred years ago, including the criminalization of African Americans — especially women. My second book is a cultural history of “female husbands” in the eighteenth and nineteenth century UK and US.

My research has been generously supported by numerous grants and fellowships from the following: Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard ; Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale; New England Regional Fellowship Consortium; Amherst College Trustee Faculty Fellowship; National Endowment for the Humanities at American Antiquarian Society; Mellon Grant at Massachusetts Historical Society; Research Matters Grants at Connecticut College; Mellon Grant at Library Company of Philadelphia & Historical Society of PA; Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Rutgers University Graduate School; McNeil Center for Early American Studies at Penn





Amherst College
Associate Professor of History
111 Chapin Hall
Amherst, MA 01002

email: jmanion at amherst dot edu
tweets: @activisthistory

Faculty profile

Headshot by Code Purple Photography

Background Photos by Jen Manion: National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC; Cape Cod National Seashore Salt Pond Visitors Center, Eastham MA; Hyde Park, London; American Antiquarian Society, Worcester MA; London Metropolitan Archives, London; Library of Congress, Washington DC; Paddington Station, London; Provincetown MA.