American Artifacts of Personal Adornment, 1680-1820: A Basic Guide to Identification and Interpretation

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $98.82
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 4%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $98.82   
  • New (5) from $98.82   
  • Used (1) from $143.75   


Bracelets, buckles, buttons, and beads. Clasps, combs, and chains. Items of personal adornment fill museum collections and are regularly uncovered in historical period archaeological excavations. But until the publication of this comprehensive volume, there has been no basic guide to help curators, registrars, historians, archaeologists, or collectors identify this class of objects from colonial and early republican America. Carolyn L. White helps the reader understand and interpret these artifacts, discussing their source, manufacture, materials, function, and value in early American life. She uses them as a window on personal identity, showing how gender, age, ethnicity, and class were often displayed through the objects worn. White draws not only on the items themselves, but uses their portrayal in art, contemporary writings, advertisements, and business records to assess their meaning to their owners. A reference volume for the shelf of anyone interested in early American material culture. Over 100 illustrations and tables.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Mary C. Beaudry
White blazes a trail for historical archaeologists and material culture researchers who are interested not just in identifying and dating the objects they study but also in their social and cultural import. Excavated artifacts of personal adornment are often minute both in size and in proportion to finds such as ceramics and glass, and their significance is easily overlooked. More than a reference work, White's guide provides the theoretical grounding and a methodological framework for interpreting items of personal adornment in light of gender roles and the physical construction of the body through dress. It is a sophisticated, exhaustive, and much-need work.
Diana Loren
White provides an unparalleled resource for archaeologists, historians, museum professionals, and the general public interested in personal adornment. Her comprehensive research and discussion of the history, manufacture, distribution, and, most importantly, the meaning of artifacts of personal adornment for the people inhabiting colonial New England is breathtakingly executed; allowing us to more broadly and creatively conceptualize this important class of artifacts.
Rebecca Yamin
This is a wonderful guide to a class of artifacts that connects to individual idiosyncrasies. White opens up real possibilities for getting closer to people in the past and she gives us a method for doing it. This book not only identifies artifacts of personal adornment, it interprets them in cultural context. It is a gift to historical archaeologists and to all scholars who think about the construction of identity.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Carolyn L. White is assistant professor of historical archaeology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is a research fellow at Boston University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 CHAPTER 1: Introduction 2 CHAPTER 2: Sources for Interpreting Artifacts of Personal Adornment 3 CHAPTER 3: Clothing Fasteners 4 CHAPTER 4: Jewelry 5 CHAPTER 5: Hair Accessories 6 CHAPTER 6: Miscellaneous Accessories 7 References 8 Index 9 About the Author

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)