Catalogue


Unwelcome Americans : living on the margin in early New England /
Ruth Wallis Herndon.
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2001.
description
xi, 243 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0812217659 (pbk. : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
series title
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2001.
isbn
0812217659 (pbk. : alk. paper)
catalogue key
4380353
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Ruth Wallis Herndon teaches history at the University of Toledo
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-11-01:
Herndon (Univ. of Toledo) presents a valuable corrective to the image of the "harmonious, prosperous vision of early New England" towns that has become etched in the collective vision of Colonial America. If New England citizens chose to move from their towns of origin and subsequently became burdens to their adopted communities, they risked being "warned out" and removed to their original towns, which legally were still responsible for their relief. Herndon, giving voice to those whose voices generally are not included in public documents, tells the stories of many of these "unwelcome Americans," drawn from their testimonies before town officials. Although filtered through court clerks or other scribes, these sometimes-fragmentary vignettes allow us to reconstruct the "very real and [often] agonized tales" "of people who rarely possessed either the skill or the opportunity to write their own stories." These accounts contribute to a fuller, more complex, and multidimensional picture of life in early American society and "tell us how poor people changed the towns where they lived," providing a lesson in the roles that common people play, often unwittingly, in shaping history. The appendix includes a good sampling of transcripted documents from which the study is drawn. A compelling and important book for most collections. M. J. Puglisi Virginia Intermont College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A compelling and important book."--Choice
"A compelling and important book."- Choice
"A compelling and important book."-- Choice
"Herndon has painstakingly reconstructed the lives of these most obscure early New Englanders, bringing together materials from often far-flung sources. The resulting study at once opens an important window onto the development of poor-relief policy in America and offers a fascinating account of lives and voices often lost to us."--New England Quarterly
"Herndon has painstakingly reconstructed the lives of these most obscure early New Englanders, bringing together materials from often far-flung sources. The resulting study at once opens an important window onto the development of poor-relief policy in America and offers a fascinating account of lives and voices often lost to us."- New England Quarterly
"Herndon has painstakingly reconstructed the lives of these most obscure early New Englanders, bringing together materials from often far-flung sources. The resulting study at once opens an important window onto the development of poor-relief policy in America and offers a fascinating account of lives and voices often lost to us."-- New England Quarterly
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In eighteenth-century America, no centralized system of welfare existed to assist people who found themselves without food, medical care, or shelter. Any poor relief available was provided through local taxes, and these funds were quickly exhausted. By the end of the century, state and national taxes levied to help pay for the Revolutionary War further strained municipal budgets. In order to control homelessness, vagrancy, and poverty, New England towns relied heavily on the "warning out" system inherited from English law. This was a process in which community leaders determined the legitimate hometown of unwanted persons or families in order to force them to leave, ostensibly to return to where they could receive care. The warning-out system alleviated the expense and responsibility for the general welfare of the poor in any community, and placed the burden on each town to look after its own. But homelessness and poverty were problems as onerous in early America as they are today, and the system of warning out did little to address the fundamental causes of social disorder. Ultimately the warning-out system gave way to the establishment of general poorhouses and other charities. But the documents that recorded details about the lives of those who were warned out provide an extraordinary--and until now forgotten--history of people on the margin. Unwelcome Americans puts a human face on poverty in early America by recovering the stories of forty New Englanders who were forced to leave various communities in Rhode Island. Rhode Island towns kept better and more complete warning-out records than other areas in New England, and because the official records include those who had migrated to Rhode Island from other places, these documents can be relied upon to describe the experiences of poor people across the region. The stories are organized from birth to death, beginning with the lives of poor children and young adults, followed by families and single adults, and ending with the testimonies of the elderly and dying. Through meticulous research of historical records, Herndon has managed to recover voices that have not been heard for more than two hundred years, in the process painting a dramatically different picture of family and community life in early New England. These life stories tell us that those who were warned out were predominantly unmarried women with or without children, Native Americans, African Americans, and destitute families. Through this remarkable reconstruction, Herndon provides a corrective to the narratives of the privileged that have dominated the conversation in this crucial period of American history, and the lives she chronicles give greater depth and a richer dimension to our understanding of the growth of American social responsibility.
Main Description
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2001 In eighteenth-century America, no centralized system of welfare existed to assist people who found themselves without food, medical care, or shelter. Any poor relief available was provided through local taxes, and these funds were quickly exhausted. By the end of the century, state and national taxes levied to help pay for the Revolutionary War further strained municipal budgets. In order to control homelessness, vagrancy, and poverty, New England towns relied heavily on the "warning out" system inherited from English law. This was a process in which community leaders determined the legitimate hometown of unwanted persons or families in order to force them to leave, ostensibly to return to where they could receive care. The warning-out system alleviated the expense and responsibility for the general welfare of the poor in any community, and placed the burden on each town to look after its own. But homelessness and poverty were problems as onerous in early America as they are today, and the system of warning out did little to address the fundamental causes of social disorder. Ultimately the warning-out system gave way to the establishment of general poorhouses and other charities. But the documents that recorded details about the lives of those who were warned out provide an extraordinary--and until now forgotten--history of people on the margin. Unwelcome Americans puts a human face on poverty in early America by recovering the stories of forty New Englanders who were forced to leave various communities in Rhode Island. Rhode Island towns kept better and more complete warning-out records than other areas in New England, and because the official records include those who had migrated to Rhode Island from other places, these documents can be relied upon to describe the experiences of poor people across the region. The stories are organized from birth to death, beginning with the lives of poor children and young adults, followed by families and single adults, and ending with the testimonies of the elderly and dying. Through meticulous research of historical records, Herndon has managed to recover voices that have not been heard for more than two hundred years, in the process painting a dramatically different picture of family and community life in early New England. These life stories tell us that those who were warned out were predominantly unmarried women with or without children, Native Americans, African Americans, and destitute families. Through this remarkable reconstruction, Herndon provides a corrective to the narratives of the privileged that have dominated the conversation in this crucial period of American history, and the lives she chronicles give greater depth and a richer dimension to our understanding of the growth of American social responsibility.
Main Description
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2001 In eighteenth-century America, no centralized system of welfare existed to assist people who found themselves without food, medical care, or shelter. Any poor relief available was provided through local taxes, and these funds were quickly exhausted. By the end of the century, state and national taxes levied to help pay for the Revolutionary War further strained municipal budgets. In order to control homelessness, vagrancy, and poverty, New England towns relied heavily on the "warning out" system inherited from English law. This was a process in which community leaders determined the legitimate hometown of unwanted persons or families in order to force them to leave, ostensibly to return to where they could receive care. The warning-out system alleviated the expense and responsibility for the general welfare of the poor in any community, and placed the burden on each town to look after its own. But homelessness and poverty were problems as onerous in early America as they are today, and the system of warning out did little to address the fundamental causes of social disorder. Ultimately the warning-out system gave way to the establishment of general poorhouses and other charities. But the documents that recorded details about the lives of those who were warned out provide an extraordinary-and until now forgotten-history of people on the margin. Unwelcome Americans puts a human face on poverty in early America by recovering the stories of forty New Englanders who were forced to leave various communities in Rhode Island. Rhode Island towns kept better and more complete warning-out records than other areas in New England, and because the official records include those who had migrated to Rhode Island from other places, these documents can be relied upon to describe the experiences of poor people across the region. The stories are organized from birth to death, beginning with the lives of poor children and young adults, followed by families and single adults, and ending with the testimonies of the elderly and dying. Through meticulous research of historical records, Herndon has managed to recover voices that have not been heard for more than two hundred years, in the process painting a dramatically different picture of family and community life in early New England. These life stories tell us that those who were warned out were predominantly unmarried women with or without children, Native Americans, African Americans, and destitute families. Through this remarkable reconstruction, Herndon provides a corrective to the narratives of the privileged that have dominated the conversation in this crucial period of American history, and the lives she chronicles give greater depth and a richer dimension to our understanding of the growth of American social responsibility.
Main Description
Selected byChoicemagazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2001 In eighteenth-century America, no centralized system of welfare existed to assist people who found themselves without food, medical care, or shelter. Any poor relief available was provided through local taxes, and these funds were quickly exhausted. By the end of the century, state and national taxes levied to help pay for the Revolutionary War further strained municipal budgets. In order to control homelessness, vagrancy, and poverty, New England towns relied heavily on the "warning out" system inherited from English law. This was a process in which community leaders determined the legitimate hometown of unwanted persons or families in order to force them to leave, ostensibly to return to where they could receive care. The warning-out system alleviated the expense and responsibility for the general welfare of the poor in any community, and placed the burden on each town to look after its own. But homelessness and poverty were problems as onerous in early America as they are today, and the system of warning out did little to address the fundamental causes of social disorder. Ultimately the warning-out system gave way to the establishment of general poorhouses and other charities. But the documents that recorded details about the lives of those who were warned out provide an extraordinary--and until now forgotten--history of people on the margin.Unwelcome Americansputs a human face on poverty in early America by recovering the stories of forty New Englanders who were forced to leave various communities in Rhode Island. Rhode Island towns kept better and more complete warning-out records than other areas in New England, and because the official records include those who had migrated to Rhode Island from other places, these documents can be relied upon to describe the experiences of poor people across the region. The stories are organized from birth to death, beginning with the lives of poor children and young adults, followed by families and single adults, and ending with the testimonies of the elderly and dying. Through meticulous research of historical records, Herndon has managed to recover voices that have not been heard for more than two hundred years, in the process painting a dramatically different picture of family and community life in early New England. These life stories tell us that those who were warned out were predominantly unmarried women with or without children, Native Americans, African Americans, and destitute families. Through this remarkable reconstruction, Herndon provides a corrective to the narratives of the privileged that have dominated the conversation in this crucial period of American history, and the lives she chronicles give greater depth and a richer dimension to our understanding of the growth of American social responsibility.
Main Description
Unwelcome Americans Living on the Margin in Early New England Ruth Wallis Herndon Ruth Wallis Herndon teaches history at the University of Toledo. Early American Studies 2001 264 pages 6 x 9 ISBN 978-0-8122-3592-0 Cloth $59.95s 39.00 ISBN 978-0-8122-1765-0 Paper $24.95s 16.50 World Rights American History, History, Sociology Short copy: "Herndon has painstakingly reconstructed the lives of these most obscure early New Englanders. . . . The resulting study at once opens an important window onto the development of poor-relief policy in America and offers a fascinating account of lives and voices often lost to us."--"New England Quarterly"
Unpaid Annotation
In eighteenth-century America, no centralized system of welfare existed to assist people who found themselves without food, medical care, or shelter. Any poor relief available was provided through local taxes, and these funds were quickly exhausted. By the end of the century, state and national taxes levied to help pay for the Revolutionary War further strained municipal budgets. In order to control homelessness, vagrancy, and poverty, New England towns relied heavily on the "warning out" system inherited from English law. This was a process in which community leaders determined the legitimate hometown of unwanted persons or families in order to force them to leave, ostensibly to return to where they could receive care. The warning-out system alleviated the expense and responsibility for the general welfare of the poor in any community, and placed the burden on each town to look after its own. But homelessness and poverty were problems as onerous in early America as they are today, and the systemof warning,out did little to address the fundamental causes of social disorder. Ultimately the warning-out system gave way to the establishment of general poorhouses and other charities. But the documents that recorded details about the lives of those who were warned out provide an extraordinary -- and until now forgotten -- history of people on the margin.Unwelcome Americans puts a human face on poverty in early America by recovering the stories of forty New Englanders who were forced to leave various communities in Rhode Island. Rhode Island towns kept better and more complete warning-out records than other areas in New England, and because the official records include those who hadmigrated to Rhode Island from other places, these documents can be relied upon to describe the experiences of poor people across the region. The stories are organized from birth to death, beginning with the lives of poor children a
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
List of Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introduction: The World of People on the Marginp. 1
Birth, Infancy, and Childhoodp. 27
Phebe Perkins
Anthony Hathaway
Kate Jones
Susannah Guinea
Jerusha Townsend
Susannah, James, John, and Isabel Brown
Family Lifep. 49
Clarke, William, and Sanford Pike
Patience and Abner Butler
Judah Hazard Wanton
Mary Cummock Fowler and Mary Fowler Champlin
Sarah Gardner and Her Daughters
Wait Godfrey alias Whitney alias Grafft
Christopher Stocker and Abigail Harris
Nathaniel Whitaker
Robert Fuller's Family
Thomas Field
Work Lifep. 85
Phillis Merritt Wanton
Mary Carder
Olive Pero
Elisabeth and Molly Hodges
Cato Freeman
Mark Noble
Peter Norton
John Treby
Nathaniel Bowdish
Reversal of Fortunep. 121
Patience Havens and Her Daughters
Elizabeth Springer
Primus Thompson
Benjamin Jones
Ann West and Peter West
Esther Heradon
Margaret Fairchild Bowler
Benjamin Champney
Jacob Burke
Old Age and Deathp. 155
Daniel Collins
Obadiah Blanding
Latham Clarke
Abigail Hull Carr
Elizabeth Stonehouse
Bristol Rhodes
Conclusion: Constructing a Transient s Lifep. 175
Documentary Evidence and Background Informationp. 183
Documentary Sources for the Narrative Chaptersp. 207
Notesp. 221
Referencesp. 229
Indexp. 237
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem