Cassandra Good serves as an Assistant Professor of History at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. She was formerly the Associate Editor of the Papers of James Monroe at the University of Mary Washington. She received her PhD in history from the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in American Studies from George Washington University. Her area of expertise is late eighteenth through nineteenth century America with particular focus on politics, gender and cultural history. She also has experience in museums, new media, and public history through her work at the Smithsonian Institution. Her first book, Founding Friendships, is now available from Oxford University Press. It received the Organization of American Historians’ Mary Jurich Nickliss Prize in U.S. women’s and/or gender history in 2016.
Good is currently working on a book titled First Family: George Washington’s Heirs and the Making of America. The book tells the story of Washington’s step-grandchildren, the Custises, who achieved fame as the nation’s first “first family.” The Custis family story – long overlooked – parallels America’s story in its first century: military triumph and tragedy; democracy and old aristocratic ties; visions of liberty alongside the horrors of slavery. As a new nation, America evolved from the heady idealism of the Revolution to the challenges of democratic governing, from tenuous steps towards ending slavery to the entrenchment of slave labor, from Washington’s isolationist foreign policy to manifest destiny. By tracing the lives of a family who lived not just through but at the center of this evolution, we get both an intimate and sweeping view of a young nation’s growing pains.
Interested in hosting a book talk for Founding Friendships? Contact Cassandra at cgood [at] marymount.edu