Spanish Lessons: The Translation of Sally McKean

Lauren Huber and Dr. John Pankratz, Department of History, Albright College, 1621 N. 13th Street, Reading, PA 19604

Spanish Lessons: The Translation of Sally McKean

This research examines Sally McKean as she moved from life as a prominent young woman in the “republican court” of early national Philadelphia into her marriage to an aristocratic Spanish diplomat. Born in 1777, Sally was the daughter of Thomas McKean – Representative of Delaware in the Continental Congress, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Course, and Governor of Pennsylvania – and his second wife, Sarah Armitage. In 1798 she married Carlos Maria Martínez de Yrujo y Tacón, the Minister of Spain to the United States. The marriage obliged Sally to negotiate a series of transitions, which are in turn detailed in my research: from Presbyterianism to Catholicism; from Philadelphia to Washington to Madrid, from an evolving American elite to an established Spanish aristocracy, and from the Governor’s daughter to the Marquise de Casa Yrujo. Family correspondence primary sources and the writings of contemporary observers help to trace these transitions, these translations, which shed light more broadly on female education, the role of women in the politics of the New Nation, and the influence of the Revolution on personal identity. Ultimately, Thomas McKean’s keen sense of ambition and Sally’s own eased and normalized these transitions that the woman experienced, all of which are analyzed through this research. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Lauren Huber

Institution: Albright College

Type: Poster

Subject: History

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5162