ENLIGHTENED CONVERSATION in the "Kennebec Kingdom"* of Sarah Manning Vaughan (1753-1834)

"Delightful talk! To rear the tender thought, To teach the young idea how to shoot, To pour the fresh instruction o’er the mind, To breathe th’ inspiring spirit, and to fix The generous purpose in the glowing breast."

The Amusing Instructor (London: F. Newbery, 1777) 


Drawing on letters, manuscripts, and books from the Vaughan family collection in the American Philosophical Society archives, this exhibition presents Sarah Manning Vaughan (1753-1834) as an exceptionally intelligent and vivacious woman, who inspired a rising generation of American writers and educators by supplementing the books in her collection with the art of enlightened conversation. 

This exhibition was researched and curated by Dr. Tara M. McGowan, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the American Philosophical Society (2013-2015).

The logo combines an artistic rendering by Tara McGowan of a portrait of Sarah Manning Vaughan, looking out at a photograph of the Kennebec River from the porch of the Vaughan Homestead. The background is taken from the Dutch floral brocade cover of one of Sarah Vaughan's books.