Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce

Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce

by Sarah Abrevaya Stein
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300168187

ISBN-13: 9780300168181

Pub. Date: 09/28/2010

Publisher: Yale University Press

The thirst for exotic ornament among fashionable women in the metropoles of Europe and America prompted a bustling global trade in ostrich feathers that flourished from the 1880s until the First World War. When feathers fell out of fashion with consumers, the result was an economic catastrophe for many, a worldwide feather bust. In this remarkable book, Sarah Stein

…  See more details below

Overview

The thirst for exotic ornament among fashionable women in the metropoles of Europe and America prompted a bustling global trade in ostrich feathers that flourished from the 1880s until the First World War. When feathers fell out of fashion with consumers, the result was an economic catastrophe for many, a worldwide feather bust. In this remarkable book, Sarah Stein draws on rich archival materials to bring to light the prominent and varied roles of Jews in the feather trade. She discovers that Jews fostered and nurtured the trade across the global commodity chain and throughout the far-flung territories where ostriches were reared and plucked, and their feathers were sorted, exported, imported, auctioned, wholesaled, and finally manufactured for sale.

From Yiddish-speaking Russian-Lithuanian feather handlers in South Africa to London manufacturers and wholesalers, from rival Sephardic families whose feathers were imported from the Sahara and traded across the Mediterranean, from New York’s Lower East Side to entrepreneurial farms in the American West, Stein explores the details of a remarkably vibrant yet ephemeral culture. This is a singular story of global commerce, colonial economic practices, and the rise and fall of a glamorous luxury item.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300168181
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
09/28/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,330,824
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction The Pursuit of Plumes 1

Ch. 1 The Cape of Southern Africa: Atlantic Crossings 28

Ch. 2 London: Global Feather Hub 54

Ch. 3 The Trans-Saharan Trade: Mediterranean Connections 84

Ch. 4 The American Feather World 112

Conclusion: Global Stories 150

Notes 155

Bibliography 205

Acknowledgments 229

Index 233

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >