Lit Quotes – The Bookbinder's Family

From The Reshaping of Everyday Life : 1790-1840 (1988) by Jack Larkin:

Just after Chloe Peck was married in Rochester, New York, in 1820, she wrote to her sister of “our family, which consists of 7 persons.”  Living and eating together in the Pecks’ establishment were the newly wedded couple and five unrelated men and boys—the journeymen and apprentices of Everard Peck’s bookbinding shop.

Today “family” denotes people bound together by marriage and kinship … but early-nineteenth-century Americans almost invariably echoed Chloe Peck in describing their domestic groups as “families,” suggesting their sense of the household’s functional unity … [Everard] Peck a few years later wrote of his strong sense of responsibility for “the welfare of those connected with us, and the harmony and good order of our family.”

Afterthought:  I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the tenor and common details of early U.S. history.

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