Long-awaited Book to be Launched at Event at the Public Library of New London

Sunday 28 April, beginning at 2 pm

Book Talk and Signing by Historian Allegra di Bonaventura on her new book For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England

On Sunday, April 28, Historian Allegra di Bonaventura will lecture on her new book For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England.  The lecture and book signing will be presented, free of charge, at the Public Library of New London’s Community Room, 63 Huntington Street, New London and is presented collaboratively by the Public Library of New London, Connecticut Landmark’s Hempsted Houses and the New London County Historical Society.  Doors open at 2 pm; lecture begins at 2:30 pm.  Light refreshments will be served.  Copies of the book will be available for sale and the author will sign books.

In the tradition of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s classic book, A Midwife’s Tale, comes this groundbreaking narrative by one of America’s most promising colonial historians. Joshua Hempstead was a well-respected farmer and tradesman in New London, Connecticut. As his remarkable diary—kept from 1711 until 1758—reveals, he was also a slave owner who owned Adam Jackson for over thirty years. In this engrossing narrative of family life and the slave experience in the colonial North, Allegra di Bonaventura describes the complexity of this master/slave relationship and traces the intertwining stories of two families until the eve of the Revolution. Slavery is often left out of our collective memory of New England’s history, but it was hugely impactful on the central unit of colonial life: the family. In every corner, the lines between slavery and freedom were blurred as families across the social spectrum fought to survive. In this enlightening study, a new portrait of an era emerges.

Based on di Bonaventura’s PhD. disseration research, delving deeply into the one-of-a-kind Hempstead journal in the manuscript collection of the New London County Historical Society, this work has been strengthened and augmented by the years of additional research and study since that award-winning disseration was completed.


 “This is an extraordinary story about ordinary people in a pre-revolutionary New England family. Among the people are a master and his slave, the only account of such psychological depth I have seen in all the family histories of New England. Impeccably researched, elegantly written, For Adams’ Sake is a model of its kind.” — Joseph Ellis, author of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation