Michelle Marchetti Coughlin is a historian and museum professional. Her new book, Penelope Winslow, Plymouth Colony First Lady: Re-Imagining a Life, will be published in fall 2019. Penelope Winslow was a member of the English gentry (her third great-grandmother was Anne Boleyn’s sister Mary) who was married to King Philip’s War-era Plymouth Colony Governor Josiah Winslow. One of the most powerful women in Plymouth’s history, she, like most of her female contemporaries, has been largely forgotten. Although Penelope authored or is mentioned in few surviving documents, she left behind a trove of material evidence–ranging from personal possessions to surviving homes to archaeological artifacts–that provides great insight into her experiences. It also offers a portal into the world of Plymouth Colony’s women. (More information coming soon!)
Michelle has served as a Massachusetts Humanities Scholar-in-Residence, researching the life of Elizabeth Cadman White, one of the first owners of the Westport (Mass.) Historical Society’s 1710 Cadman-White-Handy House. (This research was later used in a Brown Center for Public Humanities course on historic house interpretation.) She has also acted as a historical consultant for the Duxbury (Mass.) Historical Society, researching the women of the society’s nineteenth-century Bradford House, and as guest curator for Pilgrim Hall Museum’s exhibit “pathFOUNDERS: Women of Plymouth,” which will run through March 2020. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Abigail Adams Birthplace in Weymouth, Mass., Michelle has planned multiple programs on women’s history and New England slavery, as well as a symposium to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Adamses’ marriage.
She may be reached at email@example.com