Madeline L. Zehnder

At the Couvent des Ursulines, New Orleans, LA

I am a PhD candidate in the University of Virginia’s Department of English, where I focus on the 18th- and 19th-century Americas, print history, aesthetics, and material culture. My dissertation project, “Companion Forms: Portable Objects and the Intimacies of Circulation in Nineteenth-Century America,” investigates how small objects including pocket-sized books, miniature portraits, and children’s toys present nineteenth-century Americans with material and imaginative sites for managing social life in a geographically vast world. The project has benefited from the support of several fellowships, including the Stephen Botein Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society and the Anthony N.B. and Beatrice Garvan Fellowship in American Material Culture at the Library Company of Philadelphia. My scholarly work has appeared in American Literary History and New Literary History, and is forthcoming in American Literature.

Together with Neal D. Curtis and Samuel V. Lemley, I also co-edit the Rotunda Library Online, an open-access, searchable online database of every book shelved in the University of Virginia’s Rotunda Library when it opened in 1826. An accompanying art installation and exhibit (“Rotunda Planetarium”) that I co-curated appeared in the Rotunda dome room November 2019 through February 2020.