'Cold-head Bath" from  Memorandum of a late visit to the Auburn penitentiary; :prepared for the Philadelphia Society for the Alleviation of the Miseries of Public Prisons by Frederick A. Packard. Printed by order of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons. Philadelphia, : J. Harding, printer., 1842.Philadelphia, April 3-4, 2009

The McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Library Company of Philadelphia, in cooperation with the Department of History of the University of Maryland, College Park and the Department of English of the College of New Jersey, will convene a conference in Philadelphia, April 3-4, 2009, on the experience of incarceration in early America.

While scholars have paid lavish attention to the political and ideological underpinnings of the rise of the penal state, the lived experience of those early Americans incarcerated in jails and prisons has so far escaped sustained examination. On the occasion of the 180th anniversary of the opening of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, this conference will explore how inmates, workers and visitors to America's early jails and prisons made sense of these captive worlds. The program juxtaposes their experiences against other carceral environments in hopes of forging a new understanding of how confinement shaped identity, politics, and popular culture in early America.

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Friday Sessions:
Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Saturday Sessions:
McNeil Center for Early American Studies
University of Pennsylvania
3355 Woodland Walk (34th and Sansom Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19104