The Age of Homespun

Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth

By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780679766445, 512pp.)

Publication Date: November 12, 2002

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Description

They began their existence as everyday objects, but in the hands of Bancroft Award-winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, fourteen domestic items from preindustrial America–ranging from a linen tablecloth to an unfinished sock–relinquish their stories and offer profound insights into our history.
In an age when even meals are rarely made from scratch, homespun easily acquires the glow of nostalgia. The objects Ulrich investigates unravel those simplified illusions, revealing important clues to the culture and people who made them. Ulrich uses an Indian basket to explore the uneasy coexistence of native and colonial Americans. A piece of silk embroidery reveals racial and class distinctions, and two old spinning wheels illuminate the connections between colonial cloth-making and war. Pulling these divergent threads together, Ulrich demonstrates how early Americans made, used, sold, and saved textiles in order to assert their identities, shape relationships, and create history.




About the Author
Beverly Wilson Palmer is former coordinator of the Writing Program at Pomona College and a seasoned documentary editor. Among her works is the two-volume The Selected Letters of Charles Sumner, also published by Northeastern University Press. She lives in Claremont, California. Laurel THatcher Ulrich, editor of the New England Women's Diaries Series, is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of History and Director of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University.
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