What was everyday life like for those who lived in early America?

To get at the everyday lives of early Americans we need to look at the goods they made and how they produced those goods. In essence, nothing explains the everyday as much as the goods in people’s lives.

Glenn Adamson, author of Craft: An American History, joins us to investigate craft and craftspeople in Early America.

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.

Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.

Episode Summary

Glenn Adamson, a scholar who has served as the curator or director of research at several museums and a scholar who has spent much of his career researching and writing about crafts and craft goods, joins us to investigate the early American world of craft and craftspeople.

Using details from his book Craft: An American History, Glenn reveals how we should think about and understand the term “craft”; Who could be an artisan or tradesman in Early America; And, how movements like the Consumer Revolution and the Industrial Revolution impacted the everyday lives of early American craftspeople.

What You’ll Discover

  • The term “craft”
  • How early Americans understood “craft”
  • Artisans and tradesmen
  • Women and craftsmanship
  • Knowledge and skill to practice a craft
  • Guilds and the guild system
  • Why the guild system did not work in early America
  • Benjamin Franklin and the myth of the self-made man
  • Origins of the “self-made man” myth
  • Producing goods for home use vs. the market
  • The cost of practicing a craft in early America
  • The Consumer Revolution and craft
  • Native Americans and craft in early America
  • Enslaved craftspeople and their trades
  • Experience of free black craftspeople in early America
  • Why artisans & craftspeople always seem to be at the forefront of social movements
  • Impact of the Industrial Revolution on American craft
  • What we can see by viewing American history through craft

Links to People, Places, and Publications

Sponsor Links

Support Ben Franklin's World

Join Us!! Become a Ben Franklin’s World Member. Subscribe and help us bring history right to your ears!

Complementary Episodes

Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

In your opinion, what might have happened if the Industrial Revolution had never happened? How would the history of craft and craftsmen have been different?

Questions, Comments, Suggestions

Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion?

Get in Touch! Send me an e-mail, tweet, or leave a comment.


Enjoy the Podcast?

Why Not Listen regularly through one of these apps?

| Listen on Google Podcasts | Listen to Stitcher |

Ratings & Reviews

If you enjoy this podcast, please give it a rating and review.

Positive ratings and reviews help bring Ben Franklin's World to the attention of other history lovers who may not be aware of our show

Click here to rate & review on iTunes | Click here to rate & review on Stitcher

More from this show