• Role:

  • Position:

    • Professor
  • Concentration:

    • Early North America
    • women &
    • gender
    • history of sexuality
    • religious history
  • Department:

    • History
  • Education:

    • A.B. Bryn Mawr College
    • M.A. and Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
  • Curriculum Vitae:


Specializing in the history of women, gender, and sexuality along with Professor Sarah Payne, Ann M. Little is an early North American historian and the author of Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 2007), and The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright (Yale University Press, 2016).  Wheelwright was an English girl taken captive by the Wabanaki in 1703 who became an Ursuline choir nun in Québec and the order's only foreign-born Mother Superior. Her life of service and prayer across three major cultures offers insight into the networks of women whose activities were central to the struggle to control North America.

The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright was named the winner of the 2018 Albert B. Corey Prize/Prix Corey awarded jointly by the American and Canadian Historical Associations. In 2019, she was a guest co-editor for an issue of Early American Studies (17:4) in honor of Mary Maples Dunn, "Women and Religion in the Early Americas."

Chapters from Abraham in Arms and from The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright were excerpted in Women's America: Refocusing the Past edited by Linda K. Kerber, Cornelia Hughes Dayton, and Jane Sherron DeHart (7th-9th ed. Oxford University Press 2010, 2016, & 2019) and in Major Problems in American Women's History(5th edition Cengage Learning edited by Sharon Block, Ruth M. Alexander, and Mary Beth Norton, 2013).

She is at work on a new book, Natural Women: Nature, Maternity, and Liberty after the Revolution, which argues that free women in the early U.S. Republic were both fascinated by nature and "the natural," as well as subjects of nature whose reproductive capacities were of particular interest to the nation as it aimed to dominate North America with its growing population. The health, fertility, and life-giving capacities of both American lands and American women were central to women's understanding of their roles in the new nation.
Media appearances
Professor Little has appeared in the TLC and NBC show "Who Do You Think You Are" three times, first in 2015 with Tom Bergeron to help him understand more about his French Canadian roots, and in 2018 with Jean Smart to talk about her ancestor who was accused of witchcraft.  Her third appearance involved another ancestor accused of witchcraft in New England with descendant Zachary Levi, and aired in July 2022 on NBC. She was featured in the Fort Collins Coloradoan in the summer of 2018 in an article on "the TLC Show's Favorite CSU Professor," and again in 2022 after her NBC appearance.

She has also been featured on Liz Covart's and the Omohundro Institute's podcast, Ben Franklin's World twice:  First, in Episode 108 to discuss The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright, and then more recently in August of 2018 to discuss early American health and hygiene practices in Episode 200 on Everyday Life in Early America.

For Graduate Students
Dr. Little supports graduate student training in early American history in the Master of Arts in History program through a graduate readings seminar (HIST 511). She advises students in all tracks of the M.A. program, directing the theses and Plan B committees of those who want to specialize in American women's and gender history, the history of sexuality, and the history of religion. Students interested in working with Dr. Little are strongly encouraged to email her about their interests before applying.



Guest-edited journals:

  • Early American Studies 17:4 (Fall 2019): Women and Religion in the Early Americas, co-edited with Nicole Eustace

Selected recent Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

  • 2022, "Native American Captivity and Slavery in North America, 1492-1848," in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, ed. Jon Butler.
  • 2020, "Open, Vast, and Inclusive: Catholic Women's History is Early North American History," American Catholic Studies 131:1, 1-18.
  • 2020, "Esther Wheelwright," American National Biography.
  • 2019, "Ineradicably Untidy:  Women and Religion in the Age of Atlantic Empires," Early American Studies 17:4 (Fall 2019), co-authored with Nicole Eustace.
  • 2019, “Esther Wheelwright becomes an Ursuline Nun,” abridged excerpt from the Introduction to The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright  in Women’s America:  Refocusing the Past, eds. Linda K. Kerber, Jane Sherron DeHart, Cornelia Hughes Dayton, & Karissa Haugeberg (9th ed., 2019) 79-83.
  • 2019, "Esther Wheelwright," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • 2018, “The Shared Language of Gender in Colonial North American Warfare,” in The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military, edited by Kara Dixon Vuic (Taylor & Francis), 11-23.
  • 2016, “Knox’s Historical Journal” and “Cloistered Bodies:  Convents in the Anglo-American Imagination in the British Conquest of Canada,” reprinted in chapter 4, Rethinking Canada:  The Promise of Women’s History (7th ed., Oxford University Press Canada, edited by Lara Campbell, Tamara Myers and Adele Perry), 61-75.
  • 2015, “‘Keep me with you, so that I might not be damned:’  Age and Captivity in Colonial Borderlands Warfare, in Age in America:  The Colonial Era to the Present, eds. Corinne Field and Nicholas L. Syrett (New York University Press), 23-46.
  • 2013, “Indian Captivity and Family Life in Colonial New England,” an abridged excerpt of chapter 3 from Abraham in Arms, in Major Problems in American Women’s History (5th edition, Cengage Learning, edited by Sharon Block, Ruth M. Alexander, and Mary Beth Norton, 2013), 49-57.
  • 2010 and 2016, “Captivity and Conversion: Daughters of New England in French Canada” an abridged excerpt of chapter 4 from Abraham in Arms, in Women’s America:  Refocusing the Past,edited by Linda K. Kerber, Cornelia Hughes Dayton, and Jane Sherron DeHart (7th edition, Oxford University Press, 2010; 8th edition, 2016), 66-79.
  • 2010, “We’re All Cowgirls Now,” Journal of Women’s History 22:4, 220-234.


  • HIST 340: Colonial American Borderlands

  • HIST 356: American Cultural and Intellectual History