An Archaeology of Manners: The Polite World of the Merchant by Lorinda B.R. Goodwin

By Lorinda B.R. Goodwin

This booklet employs old archaeological proof to reveal how well mannered rituals reproduced the social and fabric global of trade in colonial Massachusetts. the writer situates artifacts in the social contexts descibed in modern letters and diaries and depicted in literature and paintings and demonstrates how the hot English retailers chosen and tailored modern British manners to create a brand new American type of well mannered habit.

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Additional info for An Archaeology of Manners: The Polite World of the Merchant Elite of Colonial Massachusetts (Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology)

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He determined that what manners did exist were thanks to the upper classes who strove to emulate the English social stratification and were based more on religion and morality than civility, usually to control the lower classes and preserve the hierarchy through sumptuary laws (Schlesinger 1968: 1–2). Manners both arise from and are sustained by social change. Even if America did not have the “best part” of the Old World population or a “native aristocracy,” the increasing gentility of the middle class in England ensured that there were enough well-read immigrants who were familiar with the classics of courtesy literature, and the possibility for social mobility in the first several generations of colonial settlement ensured a lively interest in pursuing the arts of genteel expression.

I must take notice that this place abounds with pritty women who appear rather more abroad than they do att York and dress elegantly. They are, for the most part, free and affable as well as pritty. I saw not one prude while I was here. (Bridenbaugh 1948: 146) Madam Sarah Knight was not so fortunate in one of her encounters on the road in 1704. Not far outside of Dedham, Massachusetts, Madam Knight was troubled with an innkeeper who was more interested in satisfying her own curiosity than in offering the weary traveler a place to rest: She then turned agen to mee and fell anew into her silly questions, without asking mee to sitt down.

He determined that what manners did exist were thanks to the upper classes who strove to emulate the English social stratification and were based more on religion and morality than civility, usually to control the lower classes and preserve the hierarchy through sumptuary laws (Schlesinger 1968: 1–2). Manners both arise from and are sustained by social change. Even if America did not have the “best part” of the Old World population or a “native aristocracy,” the increasing gentility of the middle class in England ensured that there were enough well-read immigrants who were familiar with the classics of courtesy literature, and the possibility for social mobility in the first several generations of colonial settlement ensured a lively interest in pursuing the arts of genteel expression.

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