The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century America
By Jennifer Van Horn. ISBN 978-1-4696-2956-8. Copyright 2017.
Finalist for the 2018 George Washington Prize
Over the course of the eighteenth century, Anglo-Americans purchased an unprecedented number and array of goods from portraits and city views to gravestones, dressing furniture, and prosthetic devices.
In this interdisciplinary transatlantic study, artifacts emerge as key players in the formation of Anglo-American communities and eventually of American citizenship. The analysis of images with furniture, architecture, clothing, and literary works reconstructs the networks of goods that bound together consumers in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston as their material choices demonstrate their efforts to distance themselves from Native Americans and African Americans.