The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America

The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America

On Thursday, January 17, 2019, Dr. Scott Paul Gordon joins to provide unprecedented access to the intimate world of a Moravian single sister. For event details and how to register, please scroll to the bottom of this event.

The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America is a vast collection of letters that have been compiled, transcribed, and annotated by Gordon. In his presentation, Dr. Gordon will introduce readers to an unmarried woman who worked, worshiped, and wrote about her experience living in Moravian religious communities at the time of the American Revolution and early republic.

Penry, a Welsh immigrant and a convert to the Moravian faith, was well connected in both the international Moravian community and the state of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gordon’s collection of Penry’s letters broadens perspectives on early America and the eighteenth-century Moravian Church by providing a sustained look at the spiritual and social life of a single woman at a time when singleness was extraordinarily rare. It also makes an important contribution to the recovery of women’s voices in early America, amplifying views on politics, religion, and social networks from a time when few women’s perspectives on these subjects have been preserved.

Image of Dr. Paul Scott Gordon.Dr. Scott Paul Gordon is the Andrew W. Mellon Chair at Lehigh University. He teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level in eighteenth-century transatlantic literature and in literary and cultural theory. Gordon’s first projects focused on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British literature: The Power of the Passive Self in English Literature, 1640-1770 (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and The Practice of Quixotism: Postmodern Theory and Eighteenth-Century Women’s Writing (Palgrave, 2006). His current research focuses on early America, in particular the Moravian experiment in Pennsylvania. In 2002 Gordon received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching and was named a Class of 1961 Professor for the years 2002-2004.


A book signing and a casual reception will begin at 4pm on Thursday, January 17 at, 230 N. President Ave., Lancaster. The main presentation will begin at 4:30pm in Ryder Hall.

The program is free and open to the public but requires advance registration to guarantee a seat at the presentation. Register online by clicking “Buy Tickets” below or by calling (717) 392-4633. Questions and accessibility requests may be directed to or (717) 392-4633. Ticketholders should bring a paper printout of their tickets or be able to display their tickets on a cellphone or other internet-enabled device to check-in to the lecture.

Membership Makes History Happen! Your membership enables us to bring dynamic speakers to for our lecture series throughout the year, and gives you other exciting benefits! Learn more about becoming a member of or renewing your membership today.


January 17, 2019 Ryder Hall at, 230 N. President Avenue Reception & Book Signing 4pm | Presentation 4:30pm FREE | Registration Required To Guarantee Seat