The Widows' Might: Widowhood and Gender in Early British America (Google eBook)

Front Cover
NYU Press, Mar 1, 2009 - History - 272 pages
0 Reviews

In early American society, one’s identity was determined in large part by gender. The ways in which men and women engaged with their communities were generally not equal: married women fell under the legal control of their husbands, who handled all negotiations with the outside world, as well as many domestic interactions. The death of a husband enabled women to transcend this strict gender divide. Yet, as a widow, a woman occupied a third, liminal gender in early America, performing an unusual mix of male and female roles in both public and private life.

With shrewd analysis of widows’ wills as well as prescriptive literature, court appearances, newspaper advertisements, and letters, The Widows’ Might explores how widows were portrayed in early American culture, and how widows themselves responded to their unique role. Using a comparative approach, Vivian Bruce Conger deftly analyzes how widows in colonial Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Maryland navigated their domestic, legal, economic, and community roles in early American society.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Lay In A Stock Of Graces Against The Evil Day Of Widowhood
1
The Cultural Community and Widow Remarriage
19
Widows and the Law
49
Widows and the Household
79
Neighborly Widows
107
Widows in the Economic Community
129
Witnesses to a Will of Madam Toys
153
Notes
159
Bibliography
213
Index
239
About the Author
244
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Vivian Bruce Congeris Associate Professor of History at Ithaca College.

Bibliographic information