Claire Bellerjeau


Liss, or Elizabeth

Claire Bellerjeau is the co-author of Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth”, published in May 2021. In 2022, she co-founded a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called Remember Liss, with the mission to educate the community about Liss’s extraordinary life and times. Through the non-profit, she co-authored and published a student version of Liss’s story titled Remember Liss in March 2023, with links to over 100 primary documents through the New York Archives’ teaching platform, “Consider the Source.” Bellerjeau formerly served as Historian and Director of Education at Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay, New York, where Liss was once enslaved. She has been researching the Townsend family and those they enslaved for over seventeen years, including curating a yearlong exhibit on the Townsend “Slave Bible” in 2005. In 2015, during a research visit to the New York Historical Society, she discovered what may be one of the earliest poems ever written by Jupiter Hammon, America’s first published African American writer. She has developed educational programs on the subjects of slavery in New York and the American Revolution on Long Island and works with teachers to develop curriculum to share Liss’s story using primary documents from her research.


Contribute now

Support The New Historia initiative.