This dissertation considers the material choices of girls whose place, in social hierarchies, family structures, and even life course was liminal, and the ways that through those choices, young women defined their own identities, personal and public, in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century America. I argue that American young women, both consciously and unconsciously, used things - material both real and imagined - as an integral part of their adolescent self- fashioning. Historians of material culture emphasize the significance that things can have, particularly as modes of communicating identity. I suggest that young women, neither fully children nor fully adults, used their material worlds: the acquisition, approval or rejection of, admiration, longing for particular things, to define and redefine their developing adult self. This dissertation examines the ways that young women of the upper and middle classes in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century America engaged objects to negotiate the transition from girlhood to adulthood as well as the ways that material things allowed them to articulate particular identities, to themselves and to their communities.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2013. Major: History. Advisor: Lisa A. Norling. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 290 pages.
Goetz, Kathryn R..
"Tell me how you like the shoose?": gender, girlhood, and material self-fashioning in America, 1770-1850.
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