Dr Amy Louise Erickson

Reader in Feminist History
Dr Amy Louise Erickson

Having completed a BA in Social Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley, a PhD at Cambridge in 1991 under the supervision of Margeret Spufford, and a Research Fellowship at Girton College, Cambridge, I spent the next twenty years on short-term, part-time research contracts, punctuated by one year as the Kerstin Hesselgren Visiting Professor at the University of Uppsala. Since 2005 I have worked with the Cambridge Group for the History of Population & Social Structure, and since 2013 have been employed full-time by the university.

In the History Faculty, I serve as Early Career Researcher Advocate, Wellbeing Advocate, and Academic Lead on Athena Swan. In the Group for the History of Population & Social Structure, I co-direct the research programme in 'The Occupational Structure of England & Wales 1379-1911'.

Gendered economic, social and legal structures in early modern England, and the history of women's education in the 20th century.

MPhil theses supervised: 'Defamation in seventeenth-century Lichfield'; 'Early modern Mancunians and their goods, 1660-1760'; 'Welsh apprentices in London, 1600 – 1700' (jointly with Dr Amy Blakeway); and 'The first female members of the Merchant Taylors' Company of York'.

Current PhD theses supervised are: Estelle Overs on 'The Hostmen of Newcastle 1500-1700'; Imogen Wedd on 'Gavelkind and the Land Market in Kent 1550-1700'; Sophie McGeevor on 'Women's Time Use in 19th-century London'; and Alex Wakelam on 'Imprisonment for Debt and Women’s Financial Failure in the Long Eighteenth Century'.

In Part I of the History tripos, I teach Paper 9 (British Economic and Social History 1500-1750), and the Themes & Sources option 'Earning a Living in England, 1377-1911'.  

In Part II, I supervise dissertations in early modern social and economic history or in 20th-century higher education and employment. Titles have included:

  • Census enumeration of women working at Cambridge colleges, 1881-1911
  • Students' experience of Girton College in the early 20th century
  • The financing of early modern theatres (jointly with Dr Jennifer Bishop)
  • Apprenticeship from Christ's Hospital, London in the 17th-century'
  • Apprenticeship in later 17th-century Bristol
  • The fathers of illegitimate children in Surrey and Sussex in the late 18th century
  • The Irish in 18th-century London
  • 'The economic lives of women in Edinburgh, 1634 – 1696 (jointly with Dr Amy Blakeway)
  • Music and masculinity in early modern England

I co-convene the Early Modern Economic & Social History Seminar in Cambridge and the Women's History Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London, and I serve on the Council of the British Record Society, and the Editorial Board of Cambridge Working Papers in Economic & Social History. I am a partner in the Leverhulme Network 'Producing Change: Gender and Work in Early Modern Europe' (2016-19).


Tags & Themes


In the History Faculty: Room 3.3

Mailing: Robinson College, Grange Road, Cambridge CB3 9AN

Office Phone: 01223 335321


Key Publications

  • 'Rethinking the significance of marriage and inheritance in landholding', Afterword to A. Capern and B. McDonagh (eds), Women and the Land 1500-1900 (Boydell, forthcoming).
  • 'Ellen McArthur (1862-1927): establishing a presence in the academic profession', in H. Smith and M. Zook (eds), Generations of Women Historians: Within and Beyond the Academy (Palgrave, 2018).
  • 'Esther Sleepe, fanmaker, and her family', Special issue on the Burney Family, Eighteenth-Century Life 42:2 (April 2018).
  • 'Mistresses and marriage; or, A short history of the Mrs', History Workshop Journal 78 (2014), 39-57.
  • 'Eleanor Mosley and other milliners in the City of London companies 1700-1750', History Workshop Journal 71 (2011), 147-72.
  • 'Married women's occupations in eighteenth-century London', Continuity & Change 23:2 (2008), 267-307.
  • 'Possession - and the other one tenth of the law: assessing women's ownership and economic roles in early modern England', Women's History Review 16:3 (2007), 369-85
  • 'The marital economy in comparative perspective' in Maria Ågren and A. L Erickson (eds) The Marital Economy in Scandinavia and Britain 1400-1900 (Ashgate, 2005).
  • 'Coverture and capitalism', History Workshop Journal 59 (2005), 1-16.
  • 'Using probate accounts', in Nesta Evans and Tom Arkell (eds) When Death Do Us Part: Understanding and Interpreting the Probate Records of Early Modern England (Local Population Studies, 2000)
  • 'Property law and English widows, 1660-1840', in Widowhood in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Sandra Cavallo and Lyndan Warner (Longman, 1999)
  • 'Common law versus common practice: The use of marriage settlements in early modern England', reprinted in Law in History vol. II, ed David Sugarman, in The International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory (Dartmouth, 1996), from Economic History Review 43:1 (1990)
  • 'Family, household, and community', in The Oxford Illustrated History of Tudor and Stuart England, ed. John Morrill (Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • Women and Property in Early Modern England (Routledge 1993, pb 1995)
  • 'Introduction' to Alice Clark's Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century (Routledge, 1992), viii-lv.

Other publications