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.
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
- Glenn Adamson
- Glenn Adamson, Craft: An American History
- Horatio Alger
- Glenn Adamson, The Craft Reader
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- Episode 160: The Politics of Tea
- Episode 207: Nick Bunker, Young Benjamin Franklin
- Episode 234: Richard Bushman, Farms & Farm Families in Early America
- Episode 243: Joseph Adelman: Revolutionary Print Networks
- Episode 288: Tyson Reeder, Smugglers & Patriots in the 18th-Century Atlantic World
Time 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?
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