The Listons' time in the United States coincided with a significant and unstable period in British-American relations. Henrietta's journals yield insights into this relationship. They also illuminate America's post-war political climate and society, and the fascinating individuals who operated within it.
Liston's eight North American journals and her one West Indies journal were written against a background of the 1796 and 1800 U.S. presidential elections, yellow fever outbreaks in Philadelphia, the Quasi War of 1798-1800, the death of George Washington in 1799, and the British invasion of the Danish West Indies in 1801.
Liston's writing on Turkey was composed against a backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna, the early years of Sultan Mahmud II's reign, plague epidemic in the Ottoman Empire, and assassination and fire in the city of Constantinople.
As the wife of the British Ambassador to the Sublime Porte, Henrietta had privileged access to the Ottoman elite and diplomatic corps. Her 1812-1814 Turkish journal and other shorter writings relating to her time in Turkey reflect on British-Ottoman relations and on the Greek, Jewish and Armenian communities of Constantinople. [More about the archive]
A critical edition of Henrietta Liston's Turkish journals, intended for use with this resource, was published in October 2020.