In this talk by author Allegra DiBonaventura. Hear the remarkable story of the marriage of Edward and Hannah Lane in 1650s Boston. Hannah, a wealthy heiress and child abandoned by her divorced parents, was just seventeen when she married Edward, a merchant twenty years her senior. But it only took a few disastrous days in the marital bed for her to realize that her marriage simply would not work. In a world where wives were expected to be obedient “helpmeets” with few legal rights exclusive of their husbands, Hannah had the audacity to sue for annulment, only to change her mind within two years. Seeking the domestic bliss that had eluded her parents would lead her take on the puritan legal establishment, and her ultimate triumph would be as improbable as it was extraordinary.
Allegra di Bonaventura is the Associate Director for Graduate Programs at Yale Law School. She received a Ph.D. in History from Yale and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Her 2013 book, For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England won the New England Historical Association’s James P. Hanlan Book Award and the Association for the Study of Connecticut History’s Homer D. Babbidge Award. It was named a Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year (2013).