Author Archives: JP in B-town

About JP in B-town

JP grew up on a sheep farm in northwest Ohio. She learned to knit by the age of ten, and loves the smell of wool. She fell in love with reading, a habit she fed with weekly visits to a nearby Carnegie Public Library. Reading fed her desire to become a writer, and her dream of traveling the world. She resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where she continues to knit and write.

Eighteenth-Century Burial at Sea

My sixth great grandmother was laid to rest in the Atlantic Ocean.  In 1739 Ann Marie Fitzpatrick Young and her husband John left Ireland aboard a ship destined for Baltimore. They were in their early twenties, and during the voyage … Continue reading

Posted in family history, Immigrants, Irish ancestors | 1 Comment

My Occupational DNA: Washerwoman, Glover, and Cook

When I first grew interested in family history in the 1970s, it was easier to find information about male ancestors than the women in their lives. Fast forward to the 21st century and the advent of numerous digital projects making … Continue reading

Posted in family history, Kansas, women's history

What about the Women?

When I taught women’s history, I used to assign a family history project in which I asked students to trace four generations of the women in their families.  I had grown up knowing about my family’s history, and was surprised … Continue reading

Posted in music

Breaking Silence

I finished the draft of my last academic monograph in 2014, and have come to regard Indomitable (2016) as my  scholarly swan song. (I know many academics keep on with their scholarly research after retirement, but after years of an … Continue reading

Posted in Writing | 1 Comment

Carole, the Collector

  In the early days of my teaching career, I wondered if I had made a mistake in taking a position at UCLA. It was fall quarter 1988, and I felt like an imposter because I lacked the urban sophistication … Continue reading

Posted in Correspondence, friendship, Los Angeles, women's history

“The Quilter”

I first wrote about my great grandmother’s four-decades in the Toledo State Hospital about ten years ago while taking a workshop with Carol Bly at the Indiana University Writers Conference. Originally I called the piece “Insanity,” but as I explored … Continue reading

Posted in family history, Quilting, women's history | 2 Comments

Breaking News

These days, news anchors seem to think everything is “Breaking News.” It often reminds me of the boy who cried wolf–eventually everyone ignored his cries. That said, I have a piece of news to share. I don’t normally toot my … Continue reading

Posted in Writing