What do the objects we purchase and use say about us?
If we take the time to think about the material objects and clothing in our lives, we’ll find that we can actually learn a lot about ourselves and other people. The same holds true when we take the time to study the objects and clothing left behind by people from the past.
Jennifer Van Horn, an Assistant Professor of History and Art History at the University of Delaware and author of The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America, leads us on an exploration of the 18th-century British material world and how objects from that world can help us think about and explore the lives of 18th-century British Americans.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Jennifer Van Horn, an Assistant Professor of History and Art History at the University of Delaware and author of The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America, leads us on an exploration of the 18th-century British material world how objects from that world can help us think about and explore the lives of 18th-century British Americans.
During our investigation, Jennifer reveals why objects make great things to think through early American history; How objects and material goods helped colonial Americans feel more refined and more British; And, what material objects and goods can tell us about the early American past If we examine them closely.
What You’ll Discover
- Why objects make great things to think through early American history
- What objects can tell us about early American history
- Objects owned by not-so-wealthy early Americans
- How objects helped early Americans feel more refined and more British
- Printed colonial cityscapes
- Engravings on early American gravestones
- Why a custom of elaborate gravestones developed in South Carolina
- Early American cosmetics and cosmetic tables
- Early American prosthetic devices
- Why we should study material objects
- How we can read material objects
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Jennifer Van Horn
- Jennifer’s University of Delaware webpage
- The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America
- New-York Historical Society
- Jonathan Swift, The Lady’s Dressing Room
- Gouverneur Morris’s Wooden Leg
- Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
- William and Mary Quarterly
- The OI Reader app
- Episode 024: Kimberly Alexander, 18th-Century Fashion & Material Culture
- Episode 079: Jim Horn, What is a Historical Source
- Episode 084: Zara Anishanslin, How Historians Read Historical Sources
- Episode 107: Mary Sarah Bilder, Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention
If you could travel back into the eighteenth century, what object would you like to learn more about and what would you hope to learn about it?
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