Laurel Daen received her B.A. from Wesleyan University in 2005 and her M.A. from William & Mary in 2010. Her master’s thesis explored the life of Martha Ann Honeywell, a visual and performance artist with significant physical disabilities who traveled across America, Europe, and Canada in the early nineteenth century. Her dissertation, “The Constitution of Disability in the Early American Republic,” examines the creation of disability as a legal, medical, and cultural category in the post-Revolutionary United States. Exploring topics such as Revolutionary War invalid pensions, insurance and mutual aid societies, public performers of disability, and emerging medical professionals, she reveals diverse and wide-ranging efforts to define, label, and limit disability in the new nation as well as the deep intersections of disability and ideologies of gender, class, and labor.
Awards, Fellowships and Publications
Laurel’s research has been supported by fellowships at the New-York Historical Society, the American Philosophical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. She has presented her work at numerous conferences, including the American Historical Association Annual Meeting and the Society of Early Americanists Biennial Conference. In 2010, her master’s thesis won the Dean’s Prize for Student Scholarship on Women at William & Mary.