The late Sue Studebaker documents samplers made by young girls in Ohio prior to 1850, the girls who made them, their families, and the teachers who taught them to stitch. Illustrations of these highly prized works are presented, along with the stories behind their creation. This book was the culmination of her life's work to uncover the evidence of sampler making in the westward expansion of America.
City Women - Money, Sex and the Social Order in Early Modern London(Hardcover Edition)
City Women is a major new study of the lives of ordinary women in early modern London. Drawing on thousands of pages of Londoners' depositions for the consistory court, it focuses on the challenges that preoccupied London women as they strove for survival and preferment in the burgeoning metropolis. Balancing new demographic data with vivid case studies, Eleanor Hubbard explores the advantages and dangers that the city had to offer, from women's first arrival to London as migrant maidservants, through the vicissitudes of marriage, widowhood, and old age.
In early modern London, women's opportunities were tightly restricted. Nonetheless, before 1640, the city's unique demographic circumstances provided unusual scope for marital advancement, and both maids and widows were quick to take advantage of this. Similarly, moments of opportunity emerged when the powerful sexual anxieties that associated women's speech and mobility with loose behaviour came into conflict with even more powerful anxieties about the economic stability of households and communities. As neighbours and magistrates sought to reconcile their competing priorities in cases of illegitimate pregnancy, marital disputes, working wives, remarrying widows, and more, women were able to exploit the resulting uncertainty to pursue their own ends. By paying close attention to the aspirations and preoccupations of London women themselves, their daily struggles, small triumphs, and domestic tragedies, City Women provides a valuable new perspective on the importance of early modern women's efforts in the growing capital, and on the nature of early modern English society as a whole.
Lady Alice Le Strange of Hunstanton in Norfolk kept a continuous series of household accounts from 1610-1654. Jane Whittle and Elizabeth Griffiths have used the Le Stranges' rich archive to reconstruct the material aspects of family life. This involves looking not only at purchases, but also at home production and gifts; and not only at the luxurious, but at the everyday consumption of food and medical care.
Consumption is viewed not just as a set of objects owned, but as a process involving household management, acquisition and appropriation, a process that created and reinforced social links with craftsmen, servants, labourers, and the local community. It is argued that the county gentry provide a missing link in histories of consumption: connecting the fashions of London and the royal court, with those of middling strata of rural England.
Recent writing has focused upon the transformation of consumption patterns in the eighteenth century. Here the earlier context is illuminated and, instead of tradition and stability, we find constant change and innovation. Issues of gender permeate the study. Consumption is often viewed as a female activity and the book looks in detail at who managed the provisioning, purchases, and work within the household, how spending on sons and daughters differed, and whether men and women attached different cultural values to household goods. This single household's economy provides a window into some of most significant cultural and economic issues of early modern England: innovations in trade, retail and production, the basis of gentry power, social relations in the countryside, and the gendering of family life.
Mary C. Beaudry mines archaeological findings of sewing and needlework to discover what these small traces of female experience reveal about the societies and cultures in which they were used. Beaudry’s geographical and chronological scope is broad: she examines sites in the United States and Great Britain, as well as Australia and Canada, and she ranges from the Middle Ages through the Industrial Revolution.
The author describes the social and cultural significance of “findings”: pins, needles, thimbles, scissors, and other sewing accessories and tools. Through the fascinating stories that grow out of these findings, Beaudry shows the extent to which such “small things” were deeply entrenched in the construction of gender, personal identity, and social class.