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Showing posts from January, 2017

Blogging AHA17: Session #7, On Family & Business

The first conference panel I attended today may have had more attendees than the panelists expected considering the snow and the focus on the social history of the private worlds of women, merchants, and antebellum America but there should have been many, many more people in the room to hear these four papers.
First, Lindsay Keiter, a public historian conducting research at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation provided a close reading of prescriptive literature and perhaps even satire—with Ben Franklin it’s always a fine line—about the practicality of marrying well versus for sentiment.  Historians of courtship and child raising have long noted that from the colonial era through the Revolution into the antebellum period Americans graduated from a fairly austere and severe familial mode toward companionate marriages and kindly parenting.  Generally affectionate relationships displaced authoritarian relationships.  For courtship economics, the value of a brides dowry or her match’s futur…