Some sixty years ago popular historical writer James T. Flexner published The Traitor and the Spy: Benedict Arnold and John André (1953, with a slightly updated bicentennial edition in 1975). Peggy Shippen did not make the subtitle, perhaps a reflection at that time of as yet untapped public interest in women's history; however, she was a major player in Flexner's presentation. The flirtatious, outwardly vapid teenager Peggy, the product of an upper-class, loyalist/neutralist-leaning family, was allegedly smitten with the dashing, dandyish André during the British occupation of Philadelphia during 1777–78. Just how affectionate they were toward each other was left to the reader's imagination, but some sort of adoring relationship there apparently was. When British forces evacuated Philadelphia in June 1778, wounded rebel war hero Benedict Arnold took command of the city as George Washington's chosen military governor. Through twists and turns beautiful Peggy became so enamored of Arnold, who...

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