A growing literature on the archaeology of farmsteads and rural domestic sites has examined commodity consumption as the means by which rural families created and maintained social networks and identities. During the nineteenth century, rural areas were increasingly influenced by the practices and values of the urban middle classes, although not every farmstead would, or could, participate in the same way. This paper examines a matching teacup and saucer recovered from the Spring House, a former commercial farmstead and hotel located southeastern Monroe County, Western New York State. The tea set is decorated with transfer print depictions of Faith, Hope, and Charity, the Three Virtues forming the basis of Christianity, and a motif popular in Victorian America. This paper considers how the tea set, recovered from a rural context, reflects social and genteel identity, and how the occupants of the Spring House used the set to create a sense of respectability through consumption and display.
Barton, Christopher P. and Somerville, Kyle
"Sets and Sensibilities: The Excavation of Ideology in Upstate New York,"
Northeast Historical Archaeology:
46, Article 11.
Available at: https://orb.binghamton.edu/neha/vol46/iss1/11