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 seventeenth century North America and the early modern Atlantic world. She will be on leave in 2025 as a Longterm Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library.

Her most recent book, A Constitutional Culture: New England and the Struggle against Arbitrary Rule in the Restoration Empire (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023) has been awarded the John Winthrop Prize from the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. It 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 indigenous 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 (1612-1687) wrote detailed histories of Nipmuc, Massachusetts, Pennacook and other "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, the Michael Kennedy Prize, and has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.