Behind the Bars: 19th-Century Female Criminals of Lancaster County & Southeastern Pennsylvania

Behind the Bars: 19th-Century Female Criminals of Lancaster County & Southeastern Pennsylvania

On Thursday, March 14, join LancasterHistory for a virtual presentation featuring Dr. Erica Hayden of Trevecca Nazarene University. Dr. Hayden will examine the experiences of women who entered the criminal justice system in the 19th century in Lancaster County and the surrounding southeastern region of Pennsylvania.

A graphic with a photograph of a woman with light skin and wavy, blond hair on the left. On the right, the front cover of the book "Troublesome Women."
Dr. Erica Hayden (left) and the cover of her book, “Troublesome Women” (right).

While women comprised only a small portion of those caught up in the criminal justice system in the 1800s, their experiences offer valuable insight into the intersection and history of gender, race, class, and the law. In this virtual presentation, Dr. Erika Hayden will follow the journeys of a few Pennsylvania women through the state courts and prisons, placing them at the center of their own stories and the story of criminal justice in America.

Erica Rhodes Hayden, Ph.D. is an associate professor of history at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee.  She is originally from Pennsylvania, graduating from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and completing her Ph.D. in history at Vanderbilt University in 2013. Her dissertation examined the experiences of female criminals in their communities, in the state court system, and as inmates in Pennsylvania’s county jails and state penitentiaries during the nineteenth century. Her research and teaching interests focus on nineteenth-century United States social history, specifically reform movements, women’s history, the history of crime and punishment, and the experiences of the marginalized in United States history. Her book, Troublesome Women: Gender, Crime, and Punishment in Antebellum Pennsylvania, was published by The Pennsylvania State University Press in 2019.  She is also co-editor of Incarcerated Women: A History of Struggle, Oppression, and Resistance in American Prisons.


This event is expected to take place online via Zoom on Thursday, March 14, 2024 at 5:30pm.

This program is free and open to the public, but requires advance registration in order to receive the Zoom link. Register online by clicking the link below or by calling (717) 392-4633. Registration will close online on Thursday, January 25 at 5:30pm. The program will be recorded and uploaded to LancasterHistory’s YouTube channel after the event.

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Lecture Online/Virtual Event

March 14, 2024 Online via Zoom 5:30pm FREE | Registration Required