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Buttoning Up The Social Fabric: Clothing Fasteners Of An Alsatian Immigrant Household

Author(s): Maxwell Forton

Year: 2017

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Excavations of the Biry House of Castroville, Texas have produced a diverse assemblage of clothing buttons dating from the 1840s through the 1930s. This paper explores how these buttons are being used to create a more holistic understanding of the lives of these Alsatian immigrants and their descendants. Such buttons are a common occurrence among domestic assemblages of the 19th and 20th century, but these humble artifacts may actively shape the narratives of individual lives and the communities they inhabited. Clothing buttons are the fossils of the fashion world, resisting the wares of time, but still conveying the diverse expressions of identity and social relationships articulated in clothing. Themes of gender, economic choices, and changing domestic practices may all be explored through the buttons of the Biry House. In this sense buttons may be seen as not only fastening garments, but also the very social fabric of Castroville. 

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Buttoning Up The Social Fabric: Clothing Fasteners Of An Alsatian Immigrant Household. Maxwell Forton. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435330)


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 164

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America