Desrosiers publishes book on colonial Newporter John Banister

Dr. Marian Desrosiers, a longtime adjunct professor in the Department of History, recently published her second book, “John Banister of Newport: The Life and Accounts of a Colonial Merchant.”

Drawing on Banister’s meticulous daybooks, ledgers, letters and receipts, Desrosiers analyzes his contribution to the economic history of colonial America, highlighting the complexity of the commerce of the era.

Banister (1707-1767) wore many hats: exporter, importer, wholesaler, retailer, money-lender, extender of credit, insurer, owner and outfitter of sailing vessels and shipbuilder for the slave trade. His recently discovered accounting records reveal his role in transforming colonial trade in mid-18th century America.

Desrosiers is a two-time Fulbright scholar, having studied in India and Russia. She has served as an executive board member of the National Council for Social Studies and the Massachusetts Foundation for Humanities. In her two decades teaching secondary school, Desrosiers became a National Board Certified Teacher and received summer grants from the National Science Foundation, Gilder Lerhman, National Endowment for Humanities, Robert Taft and Teaching American History.

Her scholarly publications are diverse, including colonial Newport history, women in world war and the Rhode Island courts, and the famine Irish in America. Her first book, co-authored with Frederick Spero, was “The Convergence of Hope: Our Lady of Hope Chapel, a Story of the Hundred-Year History.”

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