© 2019

The Children of Spring Street

The Bioarchaeology of Childhood in a 19th Century Abolitionist Congregation


Part of the Bioarchaeology and Social Theory book series (BST)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Meredith A. B. Ellis
    Pages 1-16
  3. Meredith A. B. Ellis
    Pages 17-30
  4. Meredith A. B. Ellis
    Pages 109-129
  5. Meredith A. B. Ellis
    Pages 131-138
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 139-143

About this book


This book examines how the shifts in the early 19th century in New York City affected children in particular. Indeed, one could argue that within this context, that “children” and “childhood” came into being.

In order to explore this, the skeletal remains of the children buried at the small, local, yet politically radical Spring Street Presbyterian Church are detailed. Population level analyses are combined with individual biological profiles from sorted burials and individual stories combed from burial records and archival data. 

What emerges are life histories of children—of infants, toddlers, younger children, older children, and adolescents—during this time of transition in New York City. When combined with historical data, these life histories, for instance, tell us about what it was like to grow up in this changing time in New York City


embodiment of social identity and lived experience of childhood isotope and health signatures of variation in weaning timing unique skeletal and historical experiences of childhood transition the data and theory into a narrative life histories and family life in 19th century New York

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology DepartmentFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA

About the authors

Meredith A.B. Ellis holds a PhD in Anthropology from Syracuse University. She also holds Master’s Degrees in Anthropology and English Language and Literature. She is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University.  Her research interests include social bioarchaeology, the bioarchaeology of childhood, the 19th century United States, and health and inequality. She has worked on the Spring Street Presbyterian Church collection, the China Gulch faunal collection, and the Donner Party Alder Creek Campsite collection.  

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Children of Spring Street
  • Book Subtitle The Bioarchaeology of Childhood in a 19th Century Abolitionist Congregation
  • Authors Meredith A. B. Ellis
  • Series Title Bioarchaeology and Social Theory
  • Series Abbreviated Title Bioarch. Soc. Theo.
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-92686-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-06491-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-92687-2
  • Series ISSN 2567-6776
  • Series E-ISSN 2567-6814
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 143
  • Number of Illustrations 5 b/w illustrations, 22 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Archaeology
    Biological and Physical Anthropology
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