Cultivating Success in the South: Farm Households in the Postbellum Era

Overview

This book explores changes in rural households of the Georgia Piedmont through the material culture of farmers as they transitioned from self-sufficiency to market dependence. The period between 1880 and 1910 was a time of dynamic change when Southern farmers struggled to reinvent their lives and livelihoods. Relying on primary documents, including probate inventories, tax lists, state and federal census data, and estate sale results, this study seeks to understand the variables that prompted farm households to ...
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Cultivating Success in the South: Farm Households in the Postbellum Era

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Overview

This book explores changes in rural households of the Georgia Piedmont through the material culture of farmers as they transitioned from self-sufficiency to market dependence. The period between 1880 and 1910 was a time of dynamic change when Southern farmers struggled to reinvent their lives and livelihoods. Relying on primary documents, including probate inventories, tax lists, state and federal census data, and estate sale results, this study seeks to understand the variables that prompted farm households to assume greater risk in hopes of success as well as those factors that stood in the way of progress. While there are few projects of this type for the late nineteenth century, and fewer still for the New South, the findings challenge the notion of farmers as overly conservative consumers and call into question traditional views of conspicuous consumption as a key indicator of wealth and status.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107054110
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2014
  • Series: Cambridge Studies on the American South
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis Ferleger is Professor of History and chair of the History Department at Boston University. He is co-editor, co-author or editor of six books, including Agriculture and National Development: Views on the Nineteenth Century and Slavery, Secession, and Southern History. He is series editor of the Historians in Conversation series published by the University of South Carolina Press and has co-edited a special issue of The Annals devoted to globalization. He has been awarded many fellowships and grants, including two awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an Earhart Fellowship, and a Twentieth Century Fund research grant.

John Metz is Director of Archives, Records and Collections at the Library of Virginia. He has more than twenty years of experience in historical research, education, collections management, and programming through his work as an archaeologist, historian and architectural historian for museums and cultural institutions, including the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, the Bermuda National Trust, and the Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier. Metz has written and lectured extensively on Southern history, architecture, and material culture. He holds an MA in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary and a PhD in American Studies from Boston University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: contesting the myth of the backward Southern farmer; 1. Different crops, different cultures: the evolution of three Georgia counties; 2. Land, households, and race in the Georgia Piedmont: the big picture; 3. Production in the Piedmont: more than just cotton; 4. The material world of Piedmont farmers; 5. Investing for success in the Piedmont; Conclusion.
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