Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Paul Mapp

Committee Members

Nicole Dressler

Annie Blazer


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.

On-Campus Access Only