Adrian Chastain Weimer


Contact Information:


Ruane Center for the Humanities 121


Ph.D. - Harvard University

Area(s) of Expertise:

Adrian Chastain Weimer is a historian of colonial America and early modern religion and politics.

Her most recent book, A Constitutional Culture: New England and the Struggle against Arbitrary Rule in the Restoration Empire (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023) centers on grass roots political mobilizing in the 1660s, when puritan colonists creatively organized to protect local institutions from the demands of the newly restored Stuart monarchy.

She is currently working on a history of Deer Island, the site in Boston harbor where Christian Native Americans were sequestered during King Philip/Metacom's War (1675-76). This episode is often mentioned but without its extensive back-story, aftershocks, and contexts, reaching from London to Haudenosaunee Country. The project intertwines legal and cultural history to trace war-time pressures on the colonial court system, debates about who could be a true Christian or a true English subject, and petitions and critical interventions by Native advocates on and off the island.

She is also co-editing The Collected Works of Daniel Gookin, to be published by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. The Bay Colony's Commissioner for Indian Affairs, Gookin wrote detailed histories of Christian or "Praying Indian" communities and their wartime suffering.

Her first book, Martyrs' Mirror: Persecution and Holiness in Early New England (Oxford, 2011) explores how puritans, Baptists, and Quakers imagined themselves within historical narratives of persecution, especially the stories in John Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs.”

Other interests include the history of toleration, practices of reading and writing, and the contributions of religious minorities such as Quakers to colonial American thought and political culture. Recent articles appear in the William and Mary Quarterly, the New England Quarterly, Early American Literature, and Church History.

Weimer's work has been honored with the Jane Dempsey Douglass Prize and the Michael Kennedy Prize, and has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Young Scholars in American Religion program, and most recently through National Endowment for the Humanities Long-term Research Fellowships at the Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Antiquarian Society.

Detailed CV