Yankee Destinies: The Lives of Ordinary Nineteenth-Century Bostonians

By Peter R. Knights | Go to book overview

Notes

INTRODUCTION
1.
Until the advent of widespread immigration into New England after about 1845, the people included in this study were the typical, ordinary, everyday people who permeated the area. Demographic changes beyond their control, chiefly "population succession," rapidly made them atypical in New England's larger urban areas and eventually in many of its rural areas as well. At the midcentury, however, they, and probably everyone else, regarded "Yankees" as the typical people of New England. See chapter 1 of Barbara Miller Solomon's Ancestors and Immigrants: A Changing New England Tradition ( 1956. Reprint. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1989).
2.
About nine years into this study, I learned of Sture Martinius Peasant Destinies: The History of 552 Swedes Born 1810-12 ( Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1977). Martinius gathered information about only the first 50 years of his subjects' lives; the adoption of half of his book's tide, but little of its methodology, ensued, for Sweden's registration system, which began in the early nineteenth century, allows students of its demographic history to begin about where Yankee Destinies arrived after 15 years of research: lifetime residential and vital records are notionally available, at the parish level, for all Swedes.
3.
Steven E. Kagle, Late Nineteenth-Century American Diary Literature ( Boston: Twayne, 1988), is a good point of departure. Lewis O. Saum The Popular Mood of Pre--Civil War America ( Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980), also deserves mention.
4.
"We say to our readers, as you value health, life, and happiness, give due attention to thorough and frequent bathing and washing. See that every member of the family attends to it, at least once a month; once a week is better" ( New England Farmer 1 [ 6 January 1849]: 29). Of course, few urban homes, even in Boston, possessed bathtubs so total immersion was impractical; for that one had to resort to public "bath rooms." For an unusual usage of such a room, see the newspaper item about * Nathaniel S. Lillie in Chapter 6.
5.
Portsmouth (N.H.) Morning Chronicle, 5 October 1860, 2/1 (page 2, column 1). Perhaps people were putting on weight: "At the late exhibition of the

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Yankee Destinies: The Lives of Ordinary Nineteenth-Century Bostonians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Maps xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Origins 13
  • 2 - Marriage and Children 37
  • 3 - Making a Living 63
  • 4 - Perils of Everyday Life 101
  • 5 - Leaving Boston 125
  • 6 - Death 151
  • Appendix a Methods and Sources 171
  • Appendix B Unconsidered Trifles 201
  • Appendix C Missing Sample Members 207
  • Notes 213
  • Bibliography 241
  • Index 267
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