Abolitionist Sallie Holley (1818–1893) lectured widely as an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, but she is understudied in rhetoric because her speech transcripts are not extant in existing archives. This essay argues that, even where faced with such archival absences, rhetorical scholars may reconstruct a speaker's career through compilation and analysis of digital surrogates and metadata. In Holley's case, these digital methods are revealing of the map and timeline of her career, patterns in her lectures, and the gendered significance of her public speaking. Similar methods may serve research focused not only on public address by nineteenth-century women like Holley, but on a range of rhetorical practices marked by those archival absences especially common to rhetors who are marginalized by gender, sexuality, race, class, nation, and/or ability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics