My book The Opened Letter: Networking in the Early Modern British World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsyvania Press, 2015) explores the way networks formed through letter writing helped bind together an increasing vast British world during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. During this period it became both easier to send a letter, as the postal system expanded, and more necessary, as the British settled across the globe. Understanding how the British used their letters illuminates how they thought about their society and how they navigated their changing geographic and communicative worlds.
Beyond letters, I am also interested in how news flowed and how the British thought about and used the information that surround them. This interest informed my article, “Dealing with Newsmongers: News, Trust, and Letters in the British World, c. 1670-1730,” which came out in the Hunting Library Quarterly in the summer of 2013.
My second project, “Barbarous Country: Delagoan Princes and the British Empire, 1715-1725,” traces the journey of two princes from south east Africa who are sold into slavery, free themselves, end up in London, and manage to manufacture a voyage home. Besides simply being a thrilling tale, the story of these two men and those who become involved with them allow us to question the way we see British global power in the early eighteenth century.
At USC I teach courses on British History ranging from the 18th Century to the 20th Century. I also lead courses that explore the Early Modern World, global expansion and the print revolution. Finally I enjoy teaching a course on historical methodology and the history of history.
- Ph.D. History, Yale University, 2008
- B.A. History, Pomona College, 2001
- O’Neill, L. (2015). The Opened Letter: Networking in the Early Modern British World. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
- O’Neill, L. (2014). Literary Sociability in Early Modern England. Huntington Library Quarterly. pp. 367-371.
- O’Neill, L. J. (2013). Dealing with Newsmongers: News, Trust & Letters in the British World, c. 1670-1730. Huntington Library. Vol. 72 (2), pp. 215-233.