Elite Families

Class and Power in Nineteenth-Century Boston

Author: Betty Farrell

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 9780791415931

Category: Social Science

Page: 229

View: 2780


This book maps the development of a regional elite and its persistence as an economic upper class through the nineteenth century. Farrell's study traces the kinship networks and overlapping business ties of the most economically prominent Brahmin families from the beginning of industrialization in the 1820s to the early twentieth century. Archival sources such as genealogies, family papers, and business records are used to address two issues of concern to those who study social stratification and the structure of power in industrializing societies: in what ways have traditional forms of social organization, such as kinship, been responsive to the social and economic changes brought by industrialization; and how active a role did an early economic elite play in shaping the direction of social change and in preserving its own group power and privilege over time.

"O Sisters Ain't You Happy?"

Gender, Family, and Community Among the Harvard and Shirley Shakers, 1781-1918

Author: Suzanne Ruth Thurman

Publisher: Syracuse University Press

ISBN: 9780815629061

Category: Religion

Page: 262

View: 3821


Drawing on archival material from Shaker members, observers, and apostates, noted historian Suzanne R. Thurman offers a scholarly yet eminently readable study of life in two of the oldest, most prominent American Shaker villages: the Harvard and Shirley communities of massachusetts. Even as she delves into the complex fabric of Shaker social life, Thurman challenges traditional perceptions of gender roles within the community. Shaker spiritual and social ethics, she points out, strongly favored women. Celibacy and an androgynous theology, for instance, allowed androgynous social roles to evolve. Another key factor was the lively arena of nineteenth-century reformers and intellectuals in nearby Boston. With admirable detail, Thurman documents the relationship that grew between these forward thinkers and the Believers. Their influence, she argues, enlightened Shaker consciousness and empowered their women of Harvard and Shirley with opportunities denied them in the world at large. The author also explores links, particularly economic, between Shakers and the greater American society. Treating Harvard and Shirley Believers as an idiosyncratic part of the nation rather than a fringe group, Thurman sheds new light on their constant struggle to be in the world but not of it.