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Portrait of a Woman in SilkHidden Histories of the British Atlantic World$
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Zara Anishanslin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300197051

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300197051.001.0001

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“Boys and Girls and All”

“Boys and Girls and All”

Male Consumers, Female Producers, and Colonial Sericulture

Chapter:
(p.140) 7. “Boys and Girls and All”
Source:
Portrait of a Woman in Silk
Author(s):

Zara Anishanslin

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300197051.003.0009

This chapter first deals with silk production in America. Silk was among the raw materials that Britain hoped America would provide for its mercantilist empire. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, both private and public investors in Britain made repeated efforts to encourage the planting of mulberry trees and the raising of silkworms. Although sericulture never reached its hoped-for potential, such failures did not discourage repeated efforts. The chapter then turns to how men were as much a part of the story of eighteenth-century consumption of Spitalfields silk as they were its production. This is followed by a discussion of women producers in the silk industry and how women—as makers as well as buyers—shaped Atlantic World fashion, imperial trade, and cultural discourse about labor and commerce.

Keywords:   silk production, silk industry, North American, sericulture, mercantilist empire, Spitalfields

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