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MARCH 2, 2012


Women in Colonial Trades

"No one contested the right of wives and daughters to work in a shop or at a stall leased in the name of the husband and father," writes Olwen Hufton in The Prospect before Her: A History of Women in Western Europe, 1500-1800. "The tendency of a master in an occupation where there was scope for the employment of his daughter—particularly if he had no sons—may have been to familiarize her with the techniques of the trade." Colonial Williamsburg Blacksmith Schwarz says it is important to consider the woman's role in a family business: "It is just that—a family working to produce an income. In periods of sharp increase in demand, any able-bodied member of the family may be involved in making the business successful. Including women." Learn more about women in eighteenth-century trades in this article by Donna Dene Woodward in the Colonial Williamsburg Journal.

Primary Source of the Month

Worse Than Slavery editorial cartoon
"Argenteur" [Silversmith], Plate 1, by Denis Diderot, 1771.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

This print of an engraving shows a silversmith in his workspace. Notice the woman working at the table. Women were occasionally, but rarely, silversmiths, but it was not uncommon for wives to assist their husbands in their shops. This illustration is part of a supplement to Diderot's famous Encylopedie, which provides detailed information on eighteenth-century trades.

Remember the Ladies EFT
The Next Electronic Field Trip
is Remember the Ladies
March 15, 2012

Find sources of federal funding for EFTs in this PDF.

Downloadable American History
Lesson Plans from ABC-CLIO
and Colonial Williamsburg

Teaching News

National History Day receives the National Humanities Medal

National History Day, a year-long academic program focused on historical research for 6th to 12th grade students, was awarded the prestigious 2011 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on Monday, February 13. Find out more about Colonial Williamsburg's involvement with National History day here.

Turn Snow Days into Learning Opportunities

It's that time of year again when snow closes schools! If you are an Electronic Field Trip subscriber, why not create an account for your students to use at home so they can play interactive web activities, watch recorded video and Q&A segments from the broadcast, and ask questions on the message boards? (Please have all students use one login, instead of an individual account for each student.) Encourage students to share what they've learned from the EFT(s) with their families!

March Podcasts
03/05: The Thirsty Colonist
Vodcast: RevQuest
03/12: Fire!
03/19: Freedom to Slavery
03/26: These Boots are Made for Colonizing

Also check out our Women's History Month podcasts!

The Idea of America
The Idea of America
A digital American history program that inspires and prepares high school students for active citizenship, developed by Colonial Williamsburg and distributed by Pearson Education.


Colonial Williamsburg CONNECT

Teaching Strategy: Women at Work Map

A common misperception is that women did not hold many jobs in the 18th century. However, although it wasn't commonplace, women held many of the same jobs men did. In this lesson, students will use a map of the Colonial Williamsburg historic area to predict where women would have been able to be employed in the eighteenth century. Then, they will use historical accounts of women in trades to challenge their initial assumptions and make new observations about work for women in colonial America.

Colonial Williamsburg Teaching Resources for Your Classroom

2012–2013 Teaching Resources Catalog

Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of quality American history instructional materials, including:

  • Maria's Story Hardcover Book
  • Ann's Story Hardcover Book
  • Earning a Living as a Tradesperson in Colonial America Lesson Unit

Check out our Women's History Month specials!

Kids Zone: History, Games & Fun

2010 Distance Learning Award
21st Century Award
for Best Practices in Distance Learning,
United States Distance Learning Association, 2010

2011 AEP Finalist
Distinguished Achievement Award Finalist 2011
Association of Educational Publishers

Quotation of the Month

"To her, blest shade, a plaintive verse is due,
Lov'd by the muses, and fair sciences too;
And sure a happy proof of this remains,
In her soft numbers, and harmonious strains.
With manly sense, and fortitude of mind,
The softer graces of her sex combin'd,
To form a bright example in her life,
Of friend, of mistress, daughter, mother, wife."

—Verse published to commemorate the death of Clementina Rind, female publisher of the Virginia Gazette. Virginia Gazette (Pinckney), October 6, 1774

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Colonial Williamsburg for Teachers

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