Professor Crabtree to Give Talk on 18th-Century Ship Owner in Nantucket

Thursday, June 01, 2017

YESTERDAY’S ISLAND (NANTUCKET, MASSACHUSETTS) -- On Monday, June 19, Historian Sarah Crabtree will tell the story of William Rotch, who had the unusual and unfortunate distinction of being accused of disloyalty four separate times by three different governments in less than two decades. Her talk, titled “Tinker, Traitor, Coward, Spy! The (Mis)adventures of William Rotch,” explains how Rotch’s official charges were often complicated and varied in each case, but the underlying accusations were strikingly similar and, for Rotch, incredibly tiresome. She explores how Rotch suffered greatly during this time period, but also profited enormously and found success in an increasingly globalized economy through his male family members.

Crabtree is an assistant professor of History at San Francisco State University. She is a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island, which has brought her home to the East Coast to complete the research for her book on Rotch.