The dissertation is available both through UMI, Ann Arbor, and as Volume XXXI the_Volumes in Historical Archaeology_ edited by Stanley South (South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia: 1995).
WOMAN OF BUSINESS OR LADY OF THE MANOR?: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXAMINATION OF CHANGES IN GENDER ROLES AMONG THE HUDSON VALLEY ELITE DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
Ann Kennedy Wentworth
A Dissertation Submitted to the State University of New York at Albany in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
College of Arts and Sciences Department of Anthropology 1994
The following study analyzes the changes in gender roles among New York landowning families during the mid- to late 18th century through ceramic styles and vessel forms present in an archaeological collection recovered during excavations conducted at Clermont State Historic Site, a Livingston family home.
The premise that social values are projected through the use of material goods allowed for the examination of how rapidly changing social values resulting from the concurrent rise of capitalism and the adoption of a more democratic form of government affected the women from the emerging landowner class. The changes in women's sphere of influence from businesswoman, estate manager and partner to her husband to household manager and arbitrator of family social life was investigated through consumer behavior evidenced by changes in the style and forms of ceramic wares chosen to furnish the dinner and tea tables. This change in women's roles was analyzed in the context of the historical development of the Hudson Valley estate lifestyle, the political and social forces leading to the American Revolution, the cultural legacy of the Dutch period and the family history of the Clermont Livingstons.
The results indicate the women of Clermont were active participants in the transition that entailed a constriction of their economic and public life, but expanded their authority in the social, moral and familial spheres. The evidence for this transition to a genteel elite lifestyle is shown in a preference for fashionable ceramic wares, for forms associated with fashionable beverages, and for matched dinner and teaware sets associated with social entertaining. An examination of the historical, social and familial context provides clues as to why these women chose to follow this course of action.
In addition to the perspective gained into the attitudes of the Livingston women and by extension into the attitudes of their peers, the stratigraphic analysis of the excavations led to new conclusions about the construction and history of the Clermont mansion in Columbia County, New York.
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