The Lady’s Museum Project: An Open-Access Critical and Teaching Edition of Charlotte Lennox’s the Lady’s Museum (1760–1761)

Henry Robert Morland, 1730–1797, British, Woman Reading by a Paper-Bell Shade, 1766, Oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1989.32.

Henry Robert Morland, 1730–1797, British, Woman Reading by a Paper-Bell Shade, 1766, Oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1989.32.

Published between 1760 and 1761 and believed largely to be written by Charlotte Lennox (it was marketed as “by the Author of The Female Quixote”), the Lady’s Museum sought simultaneously to educate and entertain its readership.  It did so through a variety of media, including letters to and from the editor, poetry, biography, history, natural history, natural philosophy, translation, educational treatise, geography—even perhaps the first serialized novel.  Initially launched in 2021 and continued through 2023 with the support of the Canadian Society of Eighteenth Century Studies’s (CSECS) D. W. Smith Research Fellowship and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies’s (ASECS) Women’s Caucus Editing and Translation Fellowship, the Lady’s Museum Project is an open-access, in-progress critical edition of (and learning community around) Lennox’s visually stunning and fascinating early magazine, featuring both audiobook and interactive, textual editions (for a one-page project overview, click here.)

The Lady’s Museum Project presents Lennox’s two-volume magazine—the first updated version since its initial eighteenth-century edition printed by John Newbery—in two forms: an abridged teaching edition intended for an audience of undergraduate-student and public users, and a scholarly edition aimed at eighteenth-century specialists.  Previously, the periodical was housed behind the paywall of Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO); however, as of fall 2023, volumes 1 and 2 of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s holdings are now freely available to the public on its website and linked to from (thanks to Rebecca Maguire, MSW and the Public Services and Reproductions teams at Yale University for these high-quality scans).  Scholars and students can now compare the original edition—including its illustrations, maps, and figures—side by side with the text on, which used as its base text the Oxford Text Creation Partnership (TCP) transcriptions.

The teaching and critical editions are purposefully included side-by-side within the same .com, community-centered site (rather than as a .edu, which would have associated the site with one institution) in order to practice feminist editing principles that decenter traditional binaries of scholar/student, editor/writer.  The co-editors have designed this editorial space and apparatus for “coworkers” from various institutions, nations, and educational and professional backgrounds to likewise work side-by-side to co-create a version accessible to both audiences for this historic feminist recovery work.

The website was initially conceived when (then-graduate students) Karenza Sutton-Bennett (Ph.D., University of Ottawa) and Kelly Plante (Ph.D., Wayne State University) teamed up to design a digital home for the course reader and curriculum developed by Professor Susan Carlile (University of California, Long Beach) and (now Dr.) Sutton-Bennett and published on Aphra Behn Online:  Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts (1640–1840) (Carlile and Sutton-Bennett).  We are grateful to Professor Carlile for her encouragement, support, and positive example in her feminist recovery work.  The site has expanded beyond that initial conception; it has morphed into an in-progress learning community, a communication hub that prioritizes relationships, mentorship, and care.  This site, in other words, values DH process over “product.”

Feminist DH Theory and Method

Past, present, and future collaborators in this transnational and transdisciplinary effort to recover the work of Lennox, the trailblazing editor, and of periodical studies and the history of women in the press more generally, are affectionately referred to as “Triflers,” borrowing the term from the Lady’s Museum’s “The Trifler” section, as outlined in the Eighteenth-Century Fiction article, “A Numerous and Powerful Generation of Triflers”: The Social Edition as Counterpublic in Charlotte Lennox’s the Lady’s Museum (1760–61) and the Lady’s Museum Project (2021–).”  The co-editors adopted this idea of “trifling” as a DH method to center “care and maintenance over innovation” and to draw a distinction between this “small data” project and “Big Dick Data Projects” (Barnett; D’Ignazio and Klein).  Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein characterize “Big Dick Data Projects” as “masculinist, totalizing fantasies of world domination as enacted through data capture and analysis.  Big Dick Data projects ignore context, fetishize size, and inflate their technical and scientific capabilities” (D’Ignazio and Klein).

Committed to practicing intersectional feminism wherever and whenever possible, the co-editors have presented on three ways of practicing intersectionality in DH projects (by spotlighting group-, process-, and system-generated inequities for multiply marginalized persons), adapted from intersectional sociology and educational policy research, outlining the methods by which we continuously strive to do so (Robert and Yu; Choo and Ferree; Twenty-First Century Digital Editing & Publishing).  Group-centered intersectionality—representation of multiply marginalized persons—and process- and system-centered intersectionality—spotlighting processes and systemic oppression of multiply marginalized groups—can be discussed and practiced in classes that assign the imperialism curriculum option, including the Lady’s Geography and Princess Padmani series, which depict women of present-day Ambon Island, Sri Lanka, and India (Carlile and Sutton-Bennett).  (The project would be enriched by more critical introductions to orient generalist and nonspecialist readers on these subjects; contact the editors as outlined at the bottom of this article and here, if you and/or your students would be interested in writing and publishing on these and other subjects).

The Abridged Teaching Edition (2021–2023)

The project has, as of fall 2023, completed phases 1 and 2 of its three-phase developmental cycle.  The teaching edition is now 100% annotated by undergraduate students, for undergraduate students, with definitions that reference and link externally to Johnson’s Online Dictionary and critical introductions to contextualize readings (like “Charlotte Lennox, Eco-Feminist?” by Spring/Summer 2023 intern Bailey Meyerhoff).  It is fully ready to enhance and assist your teaching of the historic literary magazine.  Classrooms in institutions across the U.S. and Canada, including the University of Ottawa, Wayne State, Brandeis, and Texas Woman’s universities and the Community College of Rhode Island, have developed the annotations and critical introductions and beta tested the text, assignments, and activities.  All individuals are credited with gratitude on the About this Project page and attributed prominently with bylines at the beginnings of the annotated texts and critical introductions.

The Full-Text Critical Edition (2024–2026)

Entering into phase 3, the project carries forth the collaborative, collegial spirit that built the teaching apparatus into the critical edition.  The team seeks to connect with graduate and postgraduate, early- and mid-career and senior scholars who are interested in participating at various levels in building this very first critical edition of the Lady’s Museum, using feminist DH methods that destabilize the traditional editorial process in ways only possible in an online edition.  In 2024, we will be presenting our plans for the critical edition and soliciting interested collaborators from a variety of institutions and generations of scholars, at the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) and in an ASECS-sponsored roundtable at that organization’s annual meeting with collaborators Professor Ashley Bender (Texas Woman’s University), Professor Carlile, Jennifer Factor (Ph.D. candidate, Brandeis University), Professor Karen Griscom (Community College of Rhode Island), and Bailey Meyerhoff (graduate student, Wayne State University).  Also in 2024, the book chapter “‘The present therefore seems improbable, the future most uncertain’:  Transcending Academia through Charlotte Lennox’s Lady’s Museum (1760–61),” will be published in Twenty-First Century Digital Editing & Publishing, edited by Dr. James O’Sullivan (Scottish Universities Press) in/with support of the C21 Editions initiative funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Irish Research Council (IRC) as part of the UK-Ireland Collaboration in Digital Humanities.

Read/Work with Us

If you are interested in joining this “numerous and powerful generation of triflers” from the eighteenth- and twenty-first centuries, please do not hesitate to contact us at at  Collaborative projects could include, for instance, teaching with this edition, inviting the co-editors for a talk at your institution, learning more about the Lady’s Museum and this project’s theory and praxis, annotating articles or writing introductory, contextualizing essays, or providing students with the opportunity to annotate and write introductions.  Instructors can use our lesson plan as a guide.

Social Reading Options

The website enables social reading by integrating and embedding PDFs for upload to course learning management systems and Perusall.  Users can also print the PDFs of the teaching edition and the Lady’s Museum Project bookmark.

The Lady’s LibriVox:  Open-Access Audiobook of the Lady’s Museum 

In the spirit of destabilizing teacher/student and editor/contributor binaries, the Lady’s Museum Project also declines to privilege the printed (or digitized) text over either image or spoken word.  Enter the Lady’s LibriVox subproject in which Factor spearheaded the recording process for the first open-access audiobook of the magazine, starting with her (excellent) narration of Lennox’s satirical “Trifler” essays.  Summer 2023 saw the completion of volume 1, now available to listen to in full (and assign to classes) on and  Volume 1 was project-managed by (now Dr.) Plante, and volume 2 is being managed by Dr. Sutton-Bennett.  You can volunteer to lend your voice to the feminist and periodical recovery project by signing up to read a section at the Lady’s Museum, vol. 2 LibriVox page.

Write and Publish on

The project will be enriched by more critical introductions and essays, especially intersectional-feminist readings of the Lady’s Museum and essays that interrogate imperialism in the History of Princess Padmani, Original Inhabitants of Great Britain, and Lady’s Geography article series.  It would also benefit from more general introductions aimed at student readers and a generalist audience (such as “Critical Reception of the Lady’s Museum,” “Genres in the Lady’s Museum,” “Lennox and Translation,” “Lennox and Samuel Johnson,” etc.).  For a list of critical introduction topic ideas, go to  To pitch or submit a new article, or one you or a student has written for a class, email the editors at at


We have mentored undergraduate and graduate student interns interested in publishing and editing careers from Brandeis University, Texas Woman’s University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Ottawa, and Wayne State University.  Brandeis and Wayne State universities funded the graduate student internships.  There have also been less formal mentorship relationships, which we are always happy to develop.  Publishing and editing internship and mentorship relationships are always tailored to students’ interests.  Students are coached through the process of writing critical introductions, annotating articles, and/or audiobook narration and publishing.  We are interested in adding the Lady’s Museum Project to other university and college English departments’ lists of internship opportunities, so that more students can have the experience of writing and thinking about literature professionally.


Works Cited

Barnett, Fiona.  “The Brave Side of Digital Humanities,” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 25.1 (2014):  64–78.

Carlile, Susan.  “‘Before I am Quite Forgot’:  Women’s Critical Literary Biography and the Future.”  Aphra Behn Online (ABO):  Interactive Journal of Women in the Arts, 1640–1840 13.1 (2023).

Carlile, Susan and Karenza Sutton-Bennett.  Aphra Behn Online (ABO):  Interactive Journal of Women in the Arts, 1640–1840 12.1 (2022).

Choo, Hae Yeon and Myra Marx Ferree.  “Practicing Intersectionality in Sociological Research:  A Critical Analysis of Inclusions, Interactions, and Institutions in the Study of Inequalities,” Sociological Theory 28.2 (2010).

D’Ignazio, Catherine and Lauren F. Klein.  Data Feminism.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2020.

Plante, Kelly J.  “The Lady’s Museum Project:  A Digital Critical Edition in Phase 1 of Its Development, Now Available for Teachers and Students to Learn Collaboratively through Charlotte Lennox’s Lady’s Museum (1761-62).”  Aphra Behn Online (ABO):  Interactive Journal of Women in the Arts, 1640–1840 12.1 (2022).

Plante, Kelly J. and Karenza Sutton-Bennett.  “‘A Numerous and Powerful Generation of Triflers’:  The Social Edition as Counterpublic in Charlotte Lennox’s the Lady’s Museum (1760–61) and the Lady’s Museum Project (2021–).”  Eighteenth-Century Fiction 35.2 (2023).

—. “‘The present therefore seems improbable, the future most uncertain’:  Transcending Academia through Charlotte Lennox’s Lady’s Museum (1760–61).”  Twenty-First Century Digital Editing & Publishing.  Scottish Universities Press, 2024.

Robert, Sara A. and Min Yu.  “Intersectionality in Transnational Education Policy Research.”  Review of Research in Education 42.1 (2018):  93– 121.

Sutton-Bennett, Karenza.  “Intellect versus Politeness:  Charlotte Lennox and Women’s Minds.”  Eighteenth-Century Fiction 35.3 (2023):  375–96.

The Warrior Women Project: An Open-Access Critical and Teaching Edition of Dianne Dugaw’s Historic Catalog of “Warrior Women” Ballads

Thomas Rowlandson, 1756–1827, British, The Ballad Singers, undated, Watercolor and graphite with pen and black ink on moderately thick, moderately textured, cream laid paper, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1977.14.367.

Thomas Rowlandson, 1756–1827, British, The Ballad Singers, undated, Watercolor and graphite with pen and black ink on moderately thick, moderately textured, cream laid paper, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1977.14.367.

The Warrior Women Project (WWP) is an open-access digital home for the 113 “warrior women” ballads originally cataloged by Dianne Dugaw, Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, for the index of her dissertation, The Female Warrior Heroine in Anglo-American Balladry (1982).  Professor Dugaw published her dissertation research in her landmark interdisciplinary monograph that revealed the widespread cultural fascination in the long eighteenth century with women who cross dressed as soldiers and sailors as depicted in multiple genres including popular ballads, life writing, and drama:  Warrior Women and Popular Balladry:  1650-1850 (Cambridge University Press, 1989; reprinted University of Chicago Press, 1996).

The book was pivotal.  It demonstrated the extent to which gender and sexuality were and are performances historically constructed.  The ballads examined in it, including “Mary Ambree:  The Valorous Acts performed at Gaunt, By the brave Bonny Lass Mary Ambree, who in Revenge of her Loves death, did play her part most gallantly,” are important musical, textual, and visual artifacts that still have much to regale regarding popular and material culture of the long eighteenth century.  However, the ballads themselves, transcribed via typewriter by Professor Dugaw for her dissertation, have gone unpublished—until the WWP’s launch in 2021.

After nearly 40 years, these warrior women ballads are freely available for public and scholarly exploration.  The culmination of a partnership with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA) and a team of students at the Wayne State University English Department led by Professor of English and UCSB graduate Simone Chess, the WWP includes a critical introduction, “‘Dangerous Examples’ Over Four Centuries of Song:  Nevertheless, They Persisted,” written by Professor Dugaw.

These ballads are an important resource for researchers and students interested in the literary, cultural, and historical study of gender, sexuality, and empire in the long eighteenth century.  They are bawdy; they contain sex reveals, marriage plots (thwarted and successful), death scenes, pregnancies, displays of the warrior woman’s military prowess, and acts of violence.  They circulated from lower to upper social ranks (and a large category of the ballads mention class, rank, or status) as they were displayed on the walls of coffee and ale houses, hawked on the streets, and featured in works such as John Gay’s controversial sequel to the Beggar’s Opera (1728), Polly (published by subscription in 1729 and patronized by Catherine “Kitty” Douglas, Duchess of Queensberry and Dover).  Even Eliza Haywood riffed on the warrior woman—in a book dedicated to Douglas—in the Female Spectator, which the WWP is the first to recognize in the mini-edition of that article published on the WWP.   The episode depicts one would-be warrior woman named “Aliena” as a “true” story and as a frequent-enough occurrence to warrant a cautionary tale for the periodical’s readership (as argued in that mini-edition’s critical introduction).

The Ballads:  Catalog, Database, and Critical and Teaching Resources

By contextualizing the ballads alongside such other eighteenth-century contexts as the Female Spectator, their depictions in the Americas and in the Ballad of Mulan, amongst others, the website publishes Professor Dugaw’s scanned index of ballads as a PDF and digitizes and embeds it as a searchable research tool, while foremost presenting it as a historic document in its own right.  The WWP is the first site to exclusively contain each ballad thematically within one searchable, sortable database complete with supplemental editorial apparatus, including critical and background scholarship, teaching resources including in-class and online activities, and background readings—even a playlist of recorded ballads performed by Professor Dugaw herself.

In ways not possible in a traditional, printed book, the WWP allows researchers and students to map, sort, and search the ballads quickly and purposefully, thus enabling fresh critical insights regarding the patterns, keywords, and themes that surface between and among the ballads, which traverse national boundaries and are set in England’s overseas and closer-to-home contingencies such as in India, the West Indies, and Ireland, spanning a truly “long” eighteenth century (you can sort to view ballads pre-1650, 1650-1700, 1700-1800, and 1800-later).

Some of the ballads appear in other online catalogs including the English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA), Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), and in the English Short Title Catalog (ESTC).  However, those on EEBO and ECCO were not freely available to those without a subscription.  The WWP team collaboratively located and then linked the 113 ballads across these and other platforms on their “digital home.”  Because every ballad links externally to each known online iteration on EBBA, the ESTC, and others (and provides Gale Document Numbers for EEBO and ECCO ballads), researchers and students can compare multiple ballad copies side by side.  Additionally, the WWP team transcribed and uploaded images of the ballads from the original typewritten document and performed quality assurance checks to assure each ballad is accurate and entirely searchable.

The Team:  Process and Product

This project would not have happened without Professor Dugaw’s catalog and scholarship, and it likewise would not have been possible without her generosity, advice, and shared experience, which inspired the work and guided the team’s editorial and design decisions.  Professor Patricia Fumerton imagined and encouraged the team to do this work.  EBBA Assistant Director Kristen McCants provided invaluable assistance and counsel.  Development work on the project began in Professor Chess’s Fall 2019 graduate course, in which Erika Carbonara, Sarah Chapman, Robert Chapman-Morales, Matthew Jewell, Bernadette Kelly, Lindsay Ragle-Miller, and Kelly Plante (project manager) applied feminist and DH theory and praxis to create and organize the database.  The team conceived of educational and critical resources to contextualize the ballads for scholarly and student audiences.  In a way prescient of the Covid-19 pandemic’s shift to remote learning that would occur just a few months later, Professor Dugaw visited the Detroit classroom via video projection from Oregon and told stories of collecting ballad copies in her father’s truck and traversing the country, singing ballads on back porches.  WSU librarians Clayton Hayes and Alexandra Sarkozy, and WSU alum Professor Andie Silva provided valuable advice, counsel, and education to the team on all things DH.  Professor Judith Moldenhauer (James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History at Wayne State) invited students to learn early-modern ballad printing processes hands-on by co-writing and co-printing the team’s very own warrior women ballad on the WSU Vandercook 325 printing press.  Matthew Holben, then student assistant to Professor Moldenhauer, crafted a custom wood engraving for the team to commemorate their work together.  Five of the original team of graduate students—Carbonara, Chapman, Kelly, Ragle-Miller, and Plante (continuing as project manager)—then built on their work in a Winter 2020 directed study with Professor Chess, creating the website and developing and implementing additional teaching and research resources to supplement the ballads.  Undergraduate and graduate students in ENG 5190—Louie Alkasmikha, Melinda Baker, Emma Brick, Elliot Chammas, Andy Cho, Kay Cirocco, Mackenzie Devine, Michael Dickson, Rachel Felder, Kaitlyn Holt, Noor Jomaa, Drita Juncaj, Diamond Price, Zachary Siteck, Talia Smock, and Katheryn VanRiper—beta tested the site links and content.  They contributed ideas and recommendations for improvement, annotated ballads, and wrote essays—all during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Team members have presented on the WWP at conferences such as the South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (SCSECS 2020), the Wonder Women & Rebel Girls:  Women Warriors in the Media, ca. 1800–present Workshop (Online, Fall 2020), Shakespeare Association of America (SAA 2021), and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS 2021), when Plante’s research essay that built on the WWP received the ASECS Graduate Research Essay prize.