Keeping Ordinary: Licensing and Respectability among Loyalist Women Tavernkeepers in Revolutionary America
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
In Keeping Ordinary: Licensing and Respectability among Loyalist Women Tavernkeepers in Revolutionary America, I examine the transition of early American taverns from spaces that fostered autonomy among their female owners to spaces that increasingly confined their female owners to the domestic sphere. Moving chronologically, I examine this trend through three case studies of loyalist feme sole tavernkeepers: Margaret Moore’s tavern in Boston, Massachusetts, Abigail Stoneman’s establishments in Newport, Rhode Island, and Jane Vobe’s tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia. Through the stories of these three women and their interactions with labor, gender roles, and their local communities, I argue that while feme sole tavernkeepers exercised a considerable amount of autonomy in their daily lives, the tavernkeeping occupation became a confining one with the arrival of the American Revolution. As time progressed and one’s political affiliation became increasingly relevant to maintaining a source of income, operating taverns became loyalist womens’ source of protection from local authorities, who determined the annual renewal of their licensure based on the women’s ability to maintain “orderly” establishments that kept male rowdiness at bay.
Bromkamp, Katarina, "Keeping Ordinary: Licensing and Respectability among Loyalist Women Tavernkeepers in Revolutionary America" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1953.
On-Campus Access Only