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Faculty and Staff


Bette S. Weidman

Associate Professor and Director of American Studies
Associate Professor and Director of American Studies

Klapper Hall, Room 345
Phone: 718-997-4633

Research Interests

Bette Weidman is currently working on a biography of Charles Frederick Briggs (1804-1877), New York novelist and editor, known as “Harry Franco” in the New York of the 1840s after the main character of his popular novel, The Adventures of Harry Franco (1839), an episodic tale of a country boy meeting adversity in New York City.  Briggs went on to write three more novels that also turn on issues of antebellum economics, race and social class, making available forms and themes later writers like Herman Melville and Theodore Dreiser would develop. Briggs also made an original contribution to American literary satire in his witty fictional letters for newspapers, making him a forerunner of the humorists Artemus Ward, Josh Billings, Petroleum Nasby and Mark Twain. Born in Nantucket, Briggs became a passionately engaged citizen of New York City, where he interested himself in American art, copyright legislation and the planning of Central Park.


Bette Weidman teaches the two American literature surveys, the 19thcentury American novel, American Literary Transcendentalism, Regionalism, Realism and Naturalism in American literature,Literature of the Immigrant Experience, and  special courses in Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau. She introduced the field of Native American (indian) literature to the curriculum in 1970 and has played an active role in the development of this subject, now a division of the Modern Language Association. She teaches the survey of Native American Literature and numerous electives in this field. In a teaching career of forty-five years, she has taught all the basic courses in the curriculum and all of the upper level courses in American literature, as well as courses in non-fiction writing, American Studies and oral history workshops.​



Suffolk County in Early Photographs, 1867-1951, with Linda B. Martin and Frederick S. Lightfoot, New York: Dover Publications, 1984.

Nassau County in Early Photographs, 1868-1940, with Linda B. Martin, New York: Dover Publications, 1981.

White on Red: Images of the American Indian, with Nancy B. Black, New York: Kennikat Press, 1976.

Parts of Books

“Mari Sandoz” in the American Writers Series, forthcoming from Cengage Learning, edited by Jay Parini.

“Charles Frederick Briggs,” in the American Writers Series, published by Cengage Learning, Volume 18, New York, 2009, 1-18.

Willa Cather’s Art in Historical Perspective” Reconsidering Death Comes for the Archbishop,” in Padre Martinez: New Perspectives from Taos, Taos, New Mexico, Millicent Rogers Museum, 1988, 48-70.

Typee and Omoo: A Diverging Pair,” in Companion to Melville Studies, edited by John Bryant, New York: Greenwood Press, 1986, 85-121.

“The Pinto Letters of Charles Frederick Briggs,” in the annual volume of Studies in the American Renaissance, edited by Joel Myerson, Boston: Twayne Publications, 1979, 93-157.

Selected Articles

’Sconset–born Charles Frederick Briggs,” in Historic Nantucket, a publication of the Nantucket Historical Association, Vol. 68 (Summer 2008), No. 3, 10-15.

“Closure in James Welch’s Fools Crow,” SAIL (Studies in American Indian Literatures, 18:3 (Fall 2006), 90-97.

“Native American Languages in Print, AIQ (American Indian Quarterly), Vol. 30: Nos. 1 and 2 (Winter and Spring, 2006), 166-260.


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