Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Julie Richter

Committee Members

Fabricío Prado

Liz Moran


This thesis employs a material culture methodology, which understands people through the objects that they interacted and applies it to the study of the pickle castor; this 19th-century American dining object represents an intersectionality between the unique social and economic space of Virginia City, Nevada in its silver rush Bonanza (1859-1882) and 19th century dining processes. The study will first walk through the history of the pickle castor itself, showing the food culture it is connected to, and the production processes. It will then pivot to setting this historical stage of Virginia City, Nevada in the silver rush, showing it as a place of mass wealth, industry, and diversity in population. Lastly, it will place the pickle castor into its dining context, exploring how 19th-century dining warranted such an object, and how dining manifested in Virginia City. Together, this study shows the pickle castor as an object made from 19th century dining ideals of ritual and process; the object was then utilized in Virginia City by upper and middle classes to both adhere to the dining standard, and to either display or emulate the wealth that surrounded the town from the silver rush.

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