Susan Nash1
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  • 1 Capital University in Columbus, Ohio
Signature Stories: Helen Timberlake‘s Petition to George III
in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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This article explores the process of female self-fashioning in two previously neglected petitions dated 1786-87 by using signatures to analyse their texts and construct their contexts. In them, Helen Timberlake revises the account of frontier and Cherokee life her husband, Henry Timberlake, had published in his Memoirs (1765). Her intense maternal voice, focused on loss, entangles her history with that of the Cherokee chief Ostenaco, providing a grounded but often untrue narrative of shared family life and a persona tailored to evoke a history intertwined with that of George III. This article explores the mystery of Helen Timberlakes origins, while connecting the rhetoric of her petitions to the gendered emergence of sentimentalism, narratives of Indian captivity, and the historiography of ‘the Atlantic’.

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