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Historical Archaeology

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 69–83 | Cite as

Class and Gender in Nineteenth-Century Rural Michigan: The Merriman-Sharp Hillside Farm

  • Carol A. Nickolai
Article

Abstract

The social and material expression of class and gender is an active process; the meanings and symbols in social contexts are constantly being negotiated and renegotiated. These meanings can be approached through a wide variety of sources, including material culture, landscape, architecture, and documents. In 1912 Ella Wing (Merriman) Sharp willed much of the farm and home she had inherited from her mother, Mary Merriman, and her personal property to the City of Jackson, Michigan, with specific provisions that her farm be turned into a park and her home into a museum. During their residence and even after their deaths, these two women manipulated the environment, both material and natural, in and around their farm and house to communicate very specific messages about their class and gender status.

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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol A. Nickolai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Pennsylvania MuseumPhiladelphiaUSA

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