Sarah Crabtree

Associate Professor
Phone: (415) 338-1280
Location: Humanities Building Room 254
Office Hours:
Wed: 10:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., and by appointment

I study the changing relationship between religion and nation in the Atlantic World during the ‘Age of Revolution and Reaction’ (roughly 1750 – 1830). My book, An Holy Nation, argues that the Society of Friends challenged the ways in which the wars for independence and empire of this era reconfigured definitions of citizenship and subjecthood. Quakers resisted the demands for loyalty and sacrifice by the worldly governments under which they lived; in so doing, they represented a markedly different way of thinking about and being part of civil society. My next project concerns the trials (literally) of one of these ministers. I am in the beginning stages of writing a graphic history about William Rotch, a Quaker minister accused of treason in three different countries over the course of two tumultuous decades (1775 – 1795).

Finally, as I followed the routes of these itinerant ministers, I developed an interest in Atlantic and maritime history.  I have written an article on women’s experience on early sailing ships, arguing that the spatial orientation of these vessels was explicitly classed and gendered. I teach courses on the American colonies, U.S. religious history, Atlantic World and maritime history.


  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2007
  • M.A., University of Minnesota, 2004
  • B.A., Mary Washington College, 2001

Selected Awards

  • NEH long-term fellowship John Carter Brown Library Brown University Spring 2017
  • E. Geoffrey & Elizabeth Thayer Verney fellowship Nantucket Historical Association Winter 2015
  • AAS-ASECS fellowship Winter, 2014 American Antiquarian Society  
  • “The American Maritime People” Summer, 2012 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute  
  • Ahmanson-Getty postdoctoral fellowship Academic year, 2008-2009 UCLA Center for the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies  

Research Interests

  • Early America
  • Atlantic World
  • Nationalism 
  • Religion
  • Gender  

Selected Publications

  • Crabtree, Sarah. “In the Light and on the Road: Patience Brayton and the Quaker Itinerant Ministry" in Michele Lise Tarter and Catie Gill, eds., New Critical Studies on Early Quaker Women, 1650-1800 (Oxford University Press, 2018)
  • Crabtree, Sarah.   Holy Nation: the Transatlantic Quaker Ministry in an Age of RevolutionUniversity of Chicago Press, 2015.
  • Crabtree, Sarah. "Navigating Mobility: Gender, Class and Space at Sea, 1760 - 1810." Eighteenth-Century Studies 48, no.1 (Fall 2014).
  • Crabtree, Sarah.  “Disavowed & Reprobated: Anti-Quakerism in an Age of Revolution” in Michael Meranze and Saree Makdisi, eds., Imagining the British Atlantic after the American Revolution (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015).
  • Crabtree, Sarah.  “Hell Broke Loose, or a History of the Quakers.”  The Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies.  (No. 50) Fall 2009.   
  • Crabtree, Sarah.  “Nation of God: the Quaker Transatlantic ministry in an Age of Revolution.”  Radical History Review 99 (Winter 2007).

Courses Recently Taught

  • HIST 780: Readings in Early American History
  • HIST 482: American Religious History
  • HIST 420: Colonial American History
  • HIST 405: Maritime History
  • HIST 300: Seminar in Historical Analysis (GWAR)