Dr. Karen Robert and Dr. Janet Mullin each received a General Research Grant from the Senate Research Committee.
Dr. Robert’s book project is entitled “Driving Fear: The Ford Falcon as Icon of Argentina’s Cold War Terror”
and Dr. Mullin’s new research project “Black sheep and bad debts: The problem gamester and the middling sort, 1680-1820” is a follow-up on her forthcoming book “A Sixpence at Whist: Gaming and the English Middle Classes, 1680-1820”
“The “itch of gaming” (gambling) of England’s eighteenth century touched people of all social strata. Unlike the most notorious aristocratic gamesters, the rising middle classes played in a more restrained fashion, placing small bets at minimally-risky games in predominantly sociable contexts. However, at the periphery of this cosy norm hover the shadowy figures of the problem gamesters of the middling sort, whose need for play drove them to higher stakes and shadier places.
Their stories appear in second-hand tales, in the correspondence of acquaintances or gossips and in court records, often as the victims or perpetrators of crimes, violent and otherwise. The few names that have come down to us, and the tone of the newspaper stories that recount their sad fates, suggest that there were many more problematic players than we know. My challenge will be to find them, and to discover more about their struggles with the compulsion that had them in its teeth.”