Gibb, James G., and Julia A. King. "Gender, Activity Areas, and Homelots in the 17th-Century Chesapeake Region." Historical Archaeology 25 (1991): 109-131.
Annotation / Notes: Using archaeological records and spatial analysis from three Southern Maryland tobacco plantation sites, the authors provide an ethnographic look at life for seventeenth-century Maryland colonists in terms of gender and class roles. The article provides a brief overview of the economics of the Chesapeake region, the structure of living arrangements, and the gendered nature of tasks. The evidence suggests how gendered and class-based activities contributed to both household production and accrued wealth. The authors conclude that comparisons between the three sites provide the basis for understanding how household wealth was a direct corollary of the ability to secure a large work force and to develop a high degree of specialization.
Norton, M. B. "Gender, Crime, and Community in Seventeenth-century Maryland." In The Transformation of Early American History, edited by James A. Henretta, Michael Katz, and S. N. Katz, 123-150. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1991.
Carr, Lois Green, and Lorena S. Walsh. "The Planter's Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth Century Maryland." William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series 34 (October 1977): 542-71.
Annotation / Notes: Most women coming to Maryland in the seventeenth century were indentured servants between ages eighteen and twenty-five. Hard work in the tobacco fields, late marriage, and early death awaited them. However, for the woman who survived seasoning and their period of service, the sexual imbalance let them choose her husband and seize the opportunity to become a planter's wife. She risked childbirth, bore three to four children, and hoped one or two lived to adulthood. Widows remarried quickly, and complex families were the norm.
Conger, Vivian Leigh Bruce. 'Being Weak of Body But Firm of Mind and Memory': Widowhood in Colonial America, 1630-1750. Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1994.
Annotation / Notes: Widowhood was a normal part of colonial life. Although encouraged for younger widows and for all women in the Chesapeake region before 1700, rapid remarriage was not automatic. Widows functioned as both mother and father, including representing family interests in the community. As land became more scarce, widowhood increased and widows left more property to their daughters.
Hardy, Beatriz Betancourt. "Women and the Catholic Church in Maryland, 1689-1776." Maryland Historical Magazine 94 (Winter 1999): 396-418.
Annotation / Notes: A comparison of the experiences of two Catholic colonial women - Jane Doyne, an elite woman from the lower Western Shore, and Jenny, an enslaved woman on the Eastern Shore. Roman Catholicism was a significant part of their lives, and as women they served an important role in maintaining and transmitting the Catholic faith. However, their different status had an impact on their religious experiences.
Meyers, Debra. "The Civic Lives of White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland." Maryland Historical Magazine 94 (Fall 1999): 309-27.
Annotation / Notes: Finds that white women in seventeenth century Maryland were active participants in the public sphere. Legal records show that women from all socio-economic levels acted as lawyers, executors of wills, jurors, and litigants. They had recognized legal status and were responsible for their own financial and moral actions. Other records reveal that women served as religious educators, owned property, and managed plantations and other commerical enterprises.
Meyers, Debra A. Religion, Women and the Family in Maryland, 1634-1713. Ph.D. diss., University of Rochester, 1997.
Annotation / Notes: Explores the mentality of seventeenth century Maryland women by studying over 5,000 wills, which give expression to beliefs about property, relationships, gender roles, and religion. Meyer found that religious beliefs affected the values and behavior of colonial Marylanders. For example, Calvinists viewed women as subordinates and Free Will Christians considered women as trusted peers. Religion is a "crucial variable" in understanding early modern societies.
Norton, Mary Beth. "Gender and Defamation in Seventeenth-Century Maryland." William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd. series, 44 (January 1987): 3-39.
Annotation / Notes: Examines 145 defamation suits - over half cases involved women as litigants or witnesses - to assess the basic values of seventeenth-century Marylanders. Both men and married women used the courts to respond to gossip and public accusations that threatened their reputations. Their focus was trustworthiness, but for different reasons. A man's word was central to economic interactions with other men, and to attain a wife he had to be a decent man (cheats and scoundrels need not apply). Charging a single woman with fornification caused no irrepairable damaged, but a married woman had to "retain her husband's good will" to keep her social status.
Yewell, Therese C.Women of Achievement in Prince George's County History. Upper Marlboro, MD: Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George's County Planning Board, 1994.
Annotation / Notes: This is a model of how to present biographical portraits. The biographies of these Prince George's County women are arranged in chronological order. Each chapter begins with an historical narrative that places the biographies in context.
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