Kristen Beales

Ph.D. Student (ABD)

Advisor: Christopher Grasso
Current Research: Religion, History of Capitalism, Atlantic World,


Kristen graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida in 2010. Her senior thesis studied how Samuel Davies's understanding of the family influenced his attitudes toward war, slavery, and religious toleration in eighteenth-century Virginia. Kristen received her M.A. from William and Mary in 2014. Her master's thesis, "Exhorting or Extorting? George Whitefield's Financial Controversies," examined Whitefield's fundraising techniques and their reception by his audiences in Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston between 1738 and 1770.

Kristen's dissertation, tentatively titled "Thy Will Be Done: Merchant Religion in Eighteenth-Century America," explores how merchants from different Protestant backgrounds in Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston navigated economic debates between 1720 and 1815. Her project is structured around four case studies: reactions to the South Sea Bubble in 1720, discussions about the relationship between religion and business practice prompted by the revivals of the so-called "Great Awakening" between 1739 and 1746, debates over nonimportation and nonconsumption between 1765 and 1776, and the controversy surrounding the Embargo Act of 1807. Kristen's research has been supported by a number of institutions, including grants and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the American Philosophical Society, the Clements Library, the David Library of the American Revolution, Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections, the Huntington Library, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Library Company of Philadelphia.