Siblings: Brothers and Sisters in American History

ISBN : 9780199754052

C.Dallett Hemphill
328 Pages
169 x 242 mm
Pub date
Aug 2011
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Based on a wealth of family papers, period images, and popular literature, this is the first book devoted to the broad history of sibling relations in America. Illuminating the evolution of the modern family system, Siblings shows how brothers and sisters have helped each other in the face of the dramatic political, economic, and cultural changes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The book illustrates how, in colonial America, sibling relations offered an egalitarian space to soften the challenges of the larger patriarchal family and society, whereas after the Revolution, in antebellum America, sibling relations provided order and authority in a more democratic nation. As Hemphill demonstrates, siblings function across all races as humanity's shock-absorbers as well as valued kin and keepers of memory. This wide-ranging book offers a new understanding of the relationship between families and history in an evolving world and a timely reminder of the role our siblings play in our own lives.


Part I: Siblings in a New World
Ch 1: Comparing Colonial Childhoods
Ch 2: Survivors: Sibling Relations among Adults
Ch 3: Siblings for Keeps in Early America
Part II: Sublings in a Time of Revolution
Ch 4: Finding Fraternity: Gender and the Revolution in Sentiment
Ch 5: Republican Brothers and Sisters at Play
Ch 6: Shock Absorbers: Young Adult Siblings in the New Century
Part III: Sublings and Democracy in America
Ch 7: Northern Homes as Found
Ch 8: The Reign of the Elder Sister
Ch 9: The Feminization of Kin-Keeping
Ch 10: Telling Exceptions: Planters, Slaves, and Pioneers
Epilogue: To the Back Seat Wars

About the author: 

C. Dallett Hemphill is a Professor of History at Ursinus College. She is the author of Bowing to Necessities: A History of Manners in America, 1620-1860. She has seven siblings.

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