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 research material texts and material culture in the 18th- and 19th-century Americas. My dissertation project, “Companion Forms: Portable Objects and the Intimacies of Circulation in Nineteenth-Century America,” investigates how small objects such as pocket-sized books and miniature portraits present nineteenth-century American audiences including soldiers, children, and enslaved people with material and imaginative sites for managing social life in a geographically vast world. This 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 the three of us co-curated appeared in the Rotunda dome room November 2019 through February 2020.