1st Edition

Within Her Power Propertied Women in Colonial Virginia

By Linda Sturtz Copyright 2002
    294 Pages 10 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    294 Pages 10 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This is an engaging and comprehensive study of property-owning women in the colony of Tidewater, VA during the 17th & 18th centuries. It examines the social restrictions on women's behaviour and speech, opportunities and difficulties these women encountered in the legal system, the economic and discretionary authority they enjoyed, the roles they played in the family business,their roles in the later, trans-Atlantic trading framework, and the imperial context within which these colonial women lived, making this a welcome addition to both colonial and women's history.

    List of Illustrations and TablesList of Standard AbbreviationsAcknowledgementsIntroduction: As if I had been in a new world1. The Ghost Family: Inheritance, Property, and Step-Families2. Hardships upon Women: Anglicization and Property Law3. As though I my self was pr[e]sent: Women with Powers of Attorney4. The Ordinary Women: Business Women and the Local Courts5. A Little Purse to Herself: Cash, Credit, and Shopping6. Madam & Co.: Gender, Family, and Trade EnterprisesConclusion: Any thing will I agree to for the common goodNotesBibliographyIndex


    Linda Strutz is an Associate Professor of History at Beloit College in Wisconsin.

    "In this deftly written and researched study, Sturtz (Beloit College) presents a lively picture of the colonial Virginia women who negotiated the limits of their society... This is a must-read for anyone interested American women's history." -- Choice
    "Linda Sturtz's meticulously researched study convincingly shows how some of Virginia's propertied women maneuvered effectively to use the legal system to their advantage. By skillfully delineating how these women functioned, Within Her Power measurably complicates our understanding of gender in early American society." -- Ronald Hoffman, Director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and Professor of history, College of William and Mary
    "Linda Sturtz has bestowed on the community of early American scholars that rare thing: a book with an original thesis that is also deeply grounded in primary sources. This richly storied and elegantly argued study must now be the point of departure for all future scholarly considerations of women in early America." -- Camille Wells, University of Virginia
    "In unearthing the many ways in which women were active in Virginia's economy, Sturtz has educated us more about its complexity... provides a new view and some important insights on colonial Virginia women." -- Journal of American History
    "This is a useful addition to a literature that seeks to describe the complicated nature of female legal and economic power in the past. The laws were harsh as written, but some women found ways around them. The agency of colonial Virginian women of means emerges her in all its complexity." -- Lisa Wilson, Connecticut College