Mr. & Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth Century Family Moved out of Slavery and into Legend

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
Mar 24, 2010

If you’ve ever done genealogical (or historical) research and felt the intrigue and energy of peeling back layers of information to open windows on the past, this is a beautifully written description of the process. Ms. Gerzina embarked on a search to authenticate the story of Lucy Terry. Born a slave in pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts, Lucy Terry was reputed to have argued a case before the Supreme Court. How much of this story could be true? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to document it? And who was this woman, really?Gerzina’s research took her to small libraries, universities, dilapidated city jails (where local archives were in storage) and courthouses across Massachusetts and Vermont. She learned more than she dared hoped and in doing so fleshed out the legends of Lucy and her family – which turned out to be so much more than the local legends suggested. For those of us who have experienced the “Eureka! I found it!” moment in a pile of old courthouse records...truly needles in haystacks… Gerzina’s book could reignite the urge to dig.

Reviewed by Library Staff