Catalogue


Stray wives : marital conflict in early national New England /
Mary Beth Sievens.
imprint
New York : New York University Press, c2005.
description
xii, 171 p.
ISBN
081474009X (cloth : alk. paper), 9780814740095 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : New York University Press, c2005.
isbn
081474009X (cloth : alk. paper)
9780814740095 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction -- A "disobedient, clamorous" wife : the problem of wifely submission -- "A trifling sum" : economic support and consumer spending in New England marriages -- "The duties of a wife" : the meaning of women's work -- "The wicked agency of others" : community involvement and marital discord -- "Having confidence in her own abilities" : coping with estrangement -- "Free and clear from all claims" : divorce and the contradictory nature of women's status -- Afterword: Settling "all matters of dispute" : marital conflict, negotiation, and compromise.
catalogue key
5621533
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-09-01:
To fully appreciate how far women's rights have evolved by the 21st century, all one need do is read a work like this one. Simple acts of self-preservation, such as leaving an abusive or neglectful husband, or monumentally brave acts, such as seeking a divorce, are drawn into sharp focus in the context of early US history. Sievens is careful to explain concepts likely to confuse avocational readers: dower, the kinds of divorce available and the mechanisms by which they were obtained, and the statuses of feme sole and feme covert. As a natural corollary, the issue of property rights emerges, as well as guardianship of women and minor children. In addition, Sievens's comparison of statistical, legal, and other records from both Vermont and Connecticut is enlightening, as are her observations about the increasingly formulaic nature of elopement advertisements over time. The bibliography is thorough, with all of the major secondary sources one would expect in a work of this nature. The annotated endnotes are especially thorough, and will prove of great use to researchers at all levels. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. T. Huntsman Somerset Community College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Offers an engaging look at marital conflict at a key transitional time in the emotional and economic landscape of early national New England."
"Offers an engaging look at marital conflict at a key transitional time in the emotional and economic landscape of early national New England." - Journal of the Early Republic
"Offers an engaging look at marital conflict at a key transitional time in the emotional and economic landscape of early national New England." -Journal of the Early Republic
"Sievens focuses on a rich and under-used source: the ads that appeared in early American newspapers alerting readers not to extend credit to run-away wives, as well as occasional replies made by wives themselves. This is a terrific source that illuminates marriage, gender, law, print culture, and community in early America. Sievens has shown considerable sensitivity and acuity, as well as diligence in the pre-digitized days, in her approach to these fascinating sources. This is an impressively lucid coverage resting on persuasive claims. . . . Indeed, this book, in its brevity, clarity, and inherent drama, may be of particular use in the classroom. A fine book on an important topic, it will certainly be of use to many working in this field." - Journal of Social History
"Sievens focuses on a rich and under-used source: the ads that appeared in early American newspapers alerting readers not to extend credit to run-away wives, as well as occasional replies made by wives themselves. This is a terrific source that illuminates marriage, gender, law, print culture, and community in early America. Sievens has shown considerable sensitivity and acuity, as well as diligence in the pre-digitized days, in her approach to these fascinating sources. This is an impressively lucid coverage resting on persuasive claims. . . . Indeed, this book, in its brevity, clarity, and inherent drama, may be of particular use in the classroom. A fine book on an important topic, it will certainly be of use to many working in this field." -Journal of Social History
"Sievens shows how even when free of their marriages, women often remained dependent on male kin."
"Sievens shows how even when free of their marriages, women often remained dependent on male kin." - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Sievens shows how even when free of their marriages, women often remained dependent on male kin." -The Chronicle of Higher Education
"To fully appreciate how far women's rights have evolved by the twenty-first century, all one need do is read a work like this one. . . . Highly recommended." - Choice
"To fully appreciate how far women's rights have evolved by the twenty-first century, all one need do is read a work like this one. . . . Highly recommended." -Choice
Wonderful. . . . A fascinating and complex account of husbands struggling to assert their legal dominance in a changing cultural landscape, while law remained static. . . . Stray Wives is full of creative research and compelling new insights about
"Wonderful. . . . A fascinating and complex account of husbands struggling to assert their legal dominance in a changing cultural landscape, while law remained static. . . . Stray Wives is full of creative research and compelling new insights about marriage in early national America. Sievens's nuanced argument about power and interdependence within marriage is absolutely convincing. She also clearly demonstrates that legal change lagged behind cultural change, leaving husbands frustrated by their inability to rule." - William & Mary Quarterly
"Wonderful. . . . A fascinating and complex account of husbands struggling to assert their legal dominance in a changing cultural landscape, while law remained static. . . .Stray Wivesis full of creative research and compelling new insights about marriage in early national America. Sievens's nuanced argument about power and interdependence within marriage is absolutely convincing. She also clearly demonstrates that legal change lagged behind cultural change, leaving husbands frustrated by their inability to rule." -William & Mary Quarterly
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2006
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Stray Wives' examines marriage, familial gender relations, and the law through the lens of 'elopement' notices. This book highlights the tenuous relationships between marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early New England era.
Long Description
To fully appriciate how far womens rights have evolved by the 21st century, all one need do is read a work like this one. --Highly Recommended, CHOICE"Stray Wivesis an insightful, carefully argued, and well-written work that complicates our understanding of law, society, and gender in early national New England. Along the way, it adds to our store of knowledge on such topics as women's economic role, domestic violence, and community relationships in early America. Mary Beth Sievens does a lovely job of showing the ways in which wives contested their husbands' dominance at the same time that they tolerated-indeed, sometimes benefited from-their own dependence." --Anya Jabour, author of "Marriage in the Early Republic: Elizabeth and William Wirt and the Companionate Ideal""In Stray Wives, Mary Beth Sievens examines hundreds of desertion notices to elucidate how couples negotiated the common law of marriage by revealing the words they addressed to the public, the issues over which they disagreed, and their strategies for maneuvering through and settling their conflicts. This important book adds both detail and depth to our knowledge of marriage and marital conflict in the early republic." --Merrill D. Smith, author of "Breaking the Bonds: Marital Discord in Pennsylvania, 1730-1830""Whereas my husband, Enoch Darling, has at sundry times used me in so improper and cruel a manner, as to destroy my happiness and endanger my life, and whereas he has not provided for me as a husband ought, but expended his time and money unadvisedly, at taverns . . . . I hereby notify the public that I am obliged to leave him. . ." --Phebe Darling, January 13, 1796Hundreds ofprovocative notices such as this one ran in New England newspapers between 1790 and 1830. These elopement notices--advertisements paid for by husbands and occasionally wives to announce their spouses' desertions as well as the personal details of their marital conflicts--testify to the difficulties that many couples experienced, and raise questions about the nature of the marital relationship in early national New England.Stray Wives examines marriage, family, gender, and the law through the lens of these elopement notices. In conjunction with legal treatises, court records, and prescriptive literature, Mary Beth Sievens highlights the often tenuous relationships among marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early Republic, an era of exceptional cultural and economic change.Elopement notices allowed couples to negotiate the meaning of these changes, through contests over issues such as gender roles, consumption, economic support, and property ownership. Sievens reveals the ambiguous, often contested nature of marital law, showing that husbands' superior status and wives' dependence were fluid and negotiable, subject to the differing interpretations of legal commentators, community members, and spouses themselves.
Main Description
Argues that another form of development -- by the poor and for the poor -- is not only possible but necessary.
Main Description
"Stray Wivesis an insightful, carefully argued, and well-written work that complicates our understanding of law, society, and gender in early national New England. Along the way, it adds to our store of knowledge on such topics as women's economic role, domestic violence, and community relationships in early America. Mary Beth Sievens does a lovely job of showing the ways in which wives contested their husbands' dominance at the same time that they tolerated-indeed, sometimes benefited from-their own dependence." --Anya Jabour, author ofMarriage in the Early Republic: Elizabeth and William Wirt and the Companionate Ideal "InStray Wives, Mary Beth Sievens examines hundreds of desertion notices to elucidate how couples negotiated the common law of marriage by revealing the words they addressed to the public, the issues over which they disagreed, and their strategies for maneuvering through and settling their conflicts. This important book adds both detail and depth to our knowledge of marriage and marital conflict in the early republic." --Merrill D. Smith, author ofBreaking the Bonds: Marital Discord in Pennsylvania, 1730-1830 "Whereas my husband, Enoch Darling, has at sundry times used me in so improper and cruel a manner, as to destroy my happiness and endanger my life, and whereas he has not provided for me as a husband ought, but expended his time and money unadvisedly, at taverns . . . . I hereby notify the public that I am obliged to leave him. . ." --Phebe Darling, January 13, 1796 Hundreds of provocative notices such as this one ran in New England newspapers between 1790 and 1830. These elopement notices--advertisements paid for by husbands and occasionally wives to announce their spouses' desertions as well as the personal details of their marital conflicts--testify to the difficulties that many couples experienced, and raise questions about the nature of the marital relationship in early national New England. Stray Wivesexamines marriage, family, gender, and the law through the lens of these elopement notices. In conjunction with legal treatises, court records, and prescriptive literature, Mary Beth Sievens highlights the often tenuous relationships among marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early Republic, an era of exceptional cultural and economic change. Elopement notices allowed couples to negotiate the meaning of these changes, through contests over issues such as gender roles, consumption, economic support, and property ownership. Sievens reveals the ambiguous, often contested nature of marital law, showing that husbands' superior status and wives' dependence were fluid and negotiable, subject to the differing interpretations of legal commentators, community members, and spouses themselves.
Main Description
Stray Wivesis an insightful, carefully argued, and well-written work that complicates our understanding of law, society, and gender in early national New England. Along the way, it adds to our store of knowledge on such topics as women's economic role, domestic violence, and community relationships in early America. Mary Beth Sievens does a lovely job of showing the ways in which wives contested their husbands' dominance at the same time that they tolerated-indeed, sometimes benefited from-their own dependence. -Anya Jabour, author of Marriage in the Early Republic: Elizabeth and William Wirt and the Companionate Ideal In Stray Wives, Mary Beth Sievens examines hundreds of desertion notices to elucidate how couples negotiated the common law of marriage by revealing the words they addressed to the public, the issues over which they disagreed, and their strategies for maneuvering through and settling their conflicts. This important book adds both detail and depth to our knowledge of marriage and marital conflict in the early republic. -Merrill D. Smith, author of Breaking the Bonds: Marital Discord in Pennsylvania, 1730-1830 Whereas my husband, Enoch Darling, has at sundry times used me in so improper and cruel a manner, as to destroy my happiness and endanger my life, and whereas he has not provided for me as a husband ought, but expended his time and money unadvisedly, at taverns . . . . I hereby notify the public that I am obliged to leave him. . . -Phebe Darling, January 13, 1796 Hundreds of provocative notices such as this one ran in New England newspapers between 1790 and 1830. These elopement notices--advertisements paid for by husbands and occasionally wives to announce their spouses' desertions as well as the personal details of their marital conflicts--testify to the difficulties that many couples experienced, and raise questions about the nature of the marital relationship in early national New England. Stray Wives examines marriage, family, gender, and the law through the lens of these elopement notices. In conjunction with legal treatises, court records, and prescriptive literature, Mary Beth Sievens highlights the often tenuous relationships among marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early Republic, an era of exceptional cultural and economic change. Elopement notices allowed couples to negotiate the meaning of these changes, through contests over issues such as gender roles, consumption, economic support, and property ownership. Sievens reveals the ambiguous, often contested nature of marital law, showing that husbands' superior status and wives' dependence were fluid and negotiable, subject to the differing interpretations of legal commentators, community members, and spouses themselves.
Main Description
This important new study adds both detail and depth to our knowledge of marriage and marital conflict in the early republic.-Merril D. Smith, editor ofSex Without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in AmericaStray Wivesexamines marriage, familial gender relations, and the law through the lens of "elopement" notices: advertisements that husbands and occasionally wives placed in newspapers to announce their spouses' desertions as well as the details of their marital conflicts. Using these notices in conjunction with legal treatises, court records, and prescriptive literature, Mary Beth Sievens highlights the often tenuous relationships among marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early Republic, an era of exceptional cultural and economic change.The rise of companionate marital ideals and economic changes that brought households more firmly into the developing market economy presented husbands and wives with new challenges as they constructed their marriage relationships. Couples used elopement notices to negotiate the meaning of these changes, through contests over such issues as husbands' authority and wives' submission, consumer spending, economic support, and property ownership. The notices and couples' experiences reveal the ambiguous, often contested nature of marital law. Husbands' superior status and wives' dependence were fluid and negotiable, subject to the differing interpretations of legal commentators, community members, and spouses themselves.
Main Description
"Whereas my husband, Enoch Darling, has at sundry times used me in so improper and cruel a manner, as to destroy my happiness and endanger my life, and whereas he has not provided for me as a husband ought, but expended his time and money unadvisedly, at taverns . . . . I hereby notify the public that I am obliged to leave him." Phebe Darling, January 13, 1796 Hundreds of provocative notices such as this one ran in New England newspapers between 1790 and 1830. These elopement notices--advertisements paid for by husbands and occasionally wives to announce their spouses' desertions as well as the personal details of their marital conflicts--testify to the difficulties that many couples experienced, and raise questions about the nature of the marital relationship in early national New England. Stray Wives examines marriage, family, gender, and the law through the lens of these elopement notices. In conjunction with legal treatises, court records, and prescriptive literature, Mary Beth Sievens highlights the often tenuous relationships among marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early Republic, an era of exceptional cultural and economic change. Elopement notices allowed couples to negotiate the meaning of these changes, through contests over issues such as gender roles, consumption, economic support, and property ownership. Sievens reveals the ambiguous, often contested nature of marital law, showing that husbands' superior status and wives' dependence were fluid and negotiable, subject to the differing interpretations of legal commentators, community members, and spouses themselves.
Main Description
Whereas my husband, Enoch Darling, has at sundry times used me in so improper and cruel a manner, as to destroy my happiness and endanger my life, and whereas he has not provided for me as a husband ought, but expended his time and money unadvisedly, at taverns . . . . I hereby notify the public that I am obliged to leave him. Phebe Darling, January 13, 1796 Hundreds of provocative notices such as this one ran in New England newspapers between 1790 and 1830. These elopement notices--advertisements paid for by husbands and occasionally wives to announce their spouses' desertions as well as the personal details of their marital conflicts--testify to the difficulties that many couples experienced, and raise questions about the nature of the marital relationship in early national New England. Stray Wives examines marriage, family, gender, and the law through the lens of these elopement notices. In conjunction with legal treatises, court records, and prescriptive literature, Mary Beth Sievens highlights the often tenuous relationships among marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early Republic, an era of exceptional cultural and economic change. Elopement notices allowed couples to negotiate the meaning of these changes, through contests over issues such as gender roles, consumption, economic support, and property ownership. Sievens reveals the ambiguous, often contested nature of marital law, showing that husbands' superior status and wives' dependence were fluid and negotiable, subject to the differing interpretations of legal commentators, community members, and spouses themselves.
Main Description
Whereas my husband, Enoch Darling, has at sundry times used me in so improper and cruel a manner, as to destroy my happiness and endanger my life, and whereas he has not provided for me as a husband ought, but expended his time and money unadvisedly, at taverns . . . . I hereby notify the public that I am obliged to leave him. Phebe Darling, January 13, 1796Hundreds of provocative notices such as this one ran in New England newspapers between 1790 and 1830. These elopement notices--advertisements paid for by husbands and occasionally wives to announce their spouses' desertions as well as the personal details of their marital conflicts--testify to the difficulties that many couples experienced, and raise questions about the nature of the marital relationship in early national New England.Stray Wivesexamines marriage, family, gender, and the law through the lens of these elopement notices. In conjunction with legal treatises, court records, and prescriptive literature, Mary Beth Sievens highlights the often tenuous relationships among marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early Republic, an era of exceptional cultural and economic change.Elopement notices allowed couples to negotiate the meaning of these changes, through contests over issues such as gender roles, consumption, economic support, and property ownership. Sievens reveals the ambiguous, often contested nature of marital law, showing that husbands' superior status and wives' dependence were fluid and negotiable, subject to the differing interpretations of legal commentators, community members, and spouses themselves.
Unpaid Annotation
"This important new study adds both detail and depth to our knowledge of marriage and marital conflict in the early republic." -Merril D. Smith, editor of Sex Without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in AmericaStray Wives examines marriage, familial gender relations, and the law through the lens of "elopement" notices: advertisements that husbands and occasionally wives placed in newspapers to announce their spouses' desertions as well as the details of their marital conflicts. Using these notices in conjunction with legal treatises, court records, and prescriptive literature, Mary Beth Sievens highlights the often tenuous relationships among marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early Republic, an era of exceptional cultural and economic change. The rise of companionate marital ideals and economic changes that brought households more firmly into the developing market economy presented husbands and wives with new challenges as they constructed their marriage relationships. Couples used elopement notices to negotiate the meaning of these changes, through contests over such issues as husbands' authority and wives' submission, consumer spending, economic support, and property ownership. The notices and couples' experiences reveal the ambiguous, often contested nature of marital law. Husbands' superior status and wives' dependence were fluid and negotiable, subject to the differing interpretations of legal commentators, community members, and spouses themselves.
Table of Contents
A "disobedient, clamorous" wife : the problem of wifely submissionp. 12
"A trifling sum" : economic support and consumer spending in New England marriagesp. 31
"The duties of a wife" : the meaning of women's workp. 47
"The wicked agency of others" : community involvement and marital discordp. 67
"Having confidence in her own abilities" : coping with estrangementp. 86
"Free and clear from all claims" : divorce and the contradictory nature of women's statusp. 102
Afterword : settling "all matters of dispute" : marital conflict, negotiation, and compromisep. 116
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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