The Weaver's Craft
Cloth, Commerce, and Industry in Early Pennsylvania
Adrienne D. Hood
"This is a . . . a real model of how to reconstruct craft processes and organization. In my view, the publication of this book is long overdue."—Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, author of The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth
"If American studies scholars needed an example of how local history can be writ large, they can effectively point to this study of weavers in Chester County, Pennsylvania."—American Studies
"An enjoyable and informative read. It stands as a worthwhile addition to the study of crafts and their relationship to markets and market development."—Journal of American History
"Readers of The Weaver's Craft will come away with a new appreciation of the role of textiles in our world and the sophisticated tasks and histories that hide behind the glossy pictures of today's fashion magazines."—Journal of the Early Republic
"This thorough study . . . should interest both general readers and scholars of social, economic, and labor history"—Choice
"The Weaver's Craft examines the development of cloth manufacture in early Pennsylvania from its roots in seventeenth-century Europe to the beginning of industrialization. The focus on Pennsylvania and the long sweep of history yields a new understanding of the complexities of early American fabric production and the regional variations that led to distinct experiences of industrialization."—Pennsylvania Heritage
"Historians and curators of cloth, clothing, and dress have looked forward to the appearance of this volume. . . . They will not be disappointed. . . .This fine book will remain a standard in the field for many years to come."—Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Cloth was one of the most important commodities in the early modern world, and colonial North Americans had to develop creative strategies to acquire it. Although early European settlers came from societies in which hand textile production was central to the economy, local conditions in North America interacted with traditional craft structures to create new patterns of production and consumption. The Weaver's Craft examines the development of cloth manufacture in early Pennsylvania from its roots in seventeenth-century Europe to the beginning of industrialization.
Adrienne D. Hood's focus on Pennsylvania and the long sweep of history yields a new understanding of the complexities of early American fabric production and the regional variations that led to distinct experiences of industrialization. Drawing on an extensive array of primary sources, combined with a quantitative approach, the author argues that in contrast to New England, rural Pennsylvania women spun the yarn that a small group of trained male artisans wove into cloth on a commercial basis throughout the eighteenth century. Their production was considerably augmented by consumers purchasing cheap cloth from Europe and Asia, making them active participants in a global marketplace. Hood's painstaking research and numerous illustrations of textile equipment, swatch books, and consumer goods will be of interest to both scholars and craftspeople.
Adrienne D. Hood teaches history at the University of Toronto. She is a former curator of textiles at the Royal Ontario Museum.