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Grant number like: FT-57907-10

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Christina Jayne Hodge
Stanford University (Cambridge, MA 02138-2019)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2010 – 9/30/2010

A Genteel Revolution: Practical Refinements of New England's Middling Sorts

How did refined practices that were exclusive at the start eighteenth century become common necessity by its end, transforming values into the 19th century and beyond? The manuscript revision project A Genteel Revolution broaches this question through the life of Elizabeth Pratt, an American widow and shopkeeper from early eighteenth-century Newport, Rhode Island. Pratt left an unusually rich material and documentary legacy. Her life provides compelling evidence that middling sorts re-made gentility into a social practice that was successful even when partial. This conclusion offers a new perspective on lived status and the mythos of colonial gentility: it undermines any idea of a singular, essential elite culture against which others were measured.