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Bilder Named 2018 Distinguished Mount Vernon Lecturer

Award-winning professor uses platform to talk about female genius in the Age of the Constitution.


As the 2018 Mount Vernon Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of American History, Professor Mary Bilder delivers three lectures this fall on the theme, “The Lady and George Washington: Female Genius in the Age of the Constitution.”

According to the event’s sponsor, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, Bilder will present a series of illustrated lectures arguing that the Constitution was drafted in an extraordinary moment of progress for women. Could women go to school? Could women govern female academies? Could women give lectures? Could women vote? Could women serve as Senators—or even President?

Bilder uses the life and career of Eliza Harriot O’Connor, the first American female lecturer and principal of a female academy, as the means to explore the ways women and men of the framing era understood female intellect and imagined female political capacity.

Her talks are September 20, October 11, and November 29 at Mount Vernon.

Bilder is the Founders Professor of Law at Boston College Law School. Her recent work has focused on the history of the Constitution, James Madison and the Founders, the history of judicial review, and colonial and founding era constitutionalism. She is the author of Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention (Harvard University Press), which won the Bancroft Prize, considered one of the most prestigious honors in the field of American history, and was a finalist for the 2017 George Washington Prize.

Read more about the series at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.