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By the Book: Boardinghouse Women with Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt

March 14 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Join us for a conversation with the UNC Chapel Hill Kenan Eminent Professor of Southern Studies and author of A Mess of Greens and Republic of Barbecue. Engelhardt’s new book Boardinghouse Women: How Southern Keepers, Cooks, Nurses, Widows, and Runaways Shaped Modern America explores how southern boardinghouse keepers changed modern American food and much more.

Signing to follow with copies for sale from Scuppernong Books. This free program is part of Greensboro Public Library’s One City, One Book. 

More about Boardinghouse Women

“Elizabeth Engelhardt vividly establishes how southern boardinghouses were crucibles and the women who kept them were agents of improvisation, ingenuity, grit, and grits. Her trenchant research and reframing allow us to see these ventures, so often born from a moment of acute personal loss and economic necessity, as the loci not only of tragedy and exigency but also of bodily autonomy, self-expression, financial stability, and even freedom.”
—Monique Truong, author of The Book of Salt

In this innovative and insightful book, Elizabeth Engelhardt argues that modern American food, business, caretaking, politics, sex, travel, writing, and restaurants all owe a debt to boardinghouse women in the South. From the eighteenth century well into the twentieth, entrepreneurial women ran boardinghouses throughout the South; some also carried the institution to far-flung places like California, New York, and London. Owned and operated by Black, Jewish, Native American, and white women, rich and poor, immigrant and native-born, these lodgings were often hubs of business innovation and engines of financial independence for their owners.

Within their walls, boardinghouse residents and owners developed the region’s earliest printed cookbooks, created space for making music and writing literary works, formed ad hoc communities of support, tested boundaries of race and sexuality, and more.


March 14
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Greensboro History Museum
130 Summit Ave.
Greensboro, NC 27401 United States
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