Elizabeth Abbott

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Elizabeth Abbott (born 1942) is a Canadian writer and historian. She has a doctorate in 19th-century history from McGill University. She has written numerous books, and has contributed to many publications, including Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, The Gazette (Montreal), Quill & Quire, Huffington Post and London Free Press. She is the former Dean of Women for St. Hilda's College at the University of Toronto and is currently a Senior Research Associate at Trinity College, University of Toronto.


  • Tropical Obsession: A Universal Tragedy in Four Acts Set in Haiti, 1986
  • Haiti: The Duvaliers and their Legacy, 1988
  • A History of Celibacy, 1999
  • A History of Mistresses, 2003
  • Sugar: A Bittersweet History, 2008
  • A History of Marriage, 2010
  • Haiti: A Shattered Nation, 2011

A History of Mistresses[edit]

Elizabeth Abbott's 2003 book examines the large, and often underground history of mistresses. Ranging from Roman Europe to Twentieth Century America, Abbott explores the lives of the 'scarlet women' and the implications of their extramarital relationships.

A History of Marriage[edit]

Elizabeth Abbot's third book in her trilogy on the history of relationships examines various rituals of courting, nuptials, marriage, sex, child-raising and divorce. The book was a finalist for the 2010 Governor General's Literary Award in the category of English non-fiction.[1]

Seven Stories Press will be reprinting A History of Marriage in paperback in August 2015.

Haiti: A Shattered Nation[edit]

This is an update of her 1988 book, Haiti: The Duvaliers and their Legacy, commissioned after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, for which she added a new introduction and two new chapters.



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