Tera Hunter wins two American Historical Association prizes for book on slave marriage

Written by
Jamie Saxon, Office of Communications
Oct. 16, 2018

Tera Hunter, the Edwards Professor of American History and professor of history and African American studies at Princeton, has been awarded two prizes from the American Historical Association (AHA) — the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize (for women's history and/or feminist theory) and the Littleton-Griswold Prize (in U.S. law and society) — for her 2017 book, “Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century.”

Hunter researched court records, legal documents and personal diaries to illustrate the constraints that slavery placed on intimate relationships. Her own great-great-grandparents, Ellen and Moses Hunter, were enslaved, freed and then married during Reconstruction.

The AHA offers annual prizes honoring exceptional books, distinguished teaching and mentoring in the classroom, public history, and other historical projects. The Joan Kelly Memorial Prize was established in 1984 in memory of American historian Joan Kelly (1928–82) and awarded annually for the book in women’s history and/or feminist theory that best reflects the high intellectual and scholarly ideals exemplified by Kelly's life and work. The Littleton-Griswold Prize is an annual award for the best book in any subject on the history of American law and society, broadly defined.

Hunter will accept the award on Jan. 3, 2019, at the AHA's annual meeting in Chicago.