«The Cream of Goods» An Analysis of Creamware from the Narbonne House in Salem, Massachusetts

Author(s): Nicole Estey

Year: 2014


The archaeological investigations at the Narbonne House in Salem, Massachusetts were completed in 1975, though the collection has still not been extensively analyzed. The 270 creamware vessels from the site are the focus of this study because the ware is a useful tool in investigating the social, cultural, and economic shifts during the eighteenth century, and it also provides a foundation for future work. Creamware was one of the first fashionable wares that was affordable to the ‘middling sorts,’ and at the Narbonne House the majority was owned by the widow Mary Andrew and her family who lived at the home from 1780 to 1820. I conclude that the Andrews were purchasing creamware to appear genteel to their affluent extended family and neighbors. Being well connected,’ though not wealthy,’ Mary Andrew purchased stylish goods that she could afford in larger quantities rather than spending her money on smaller sets of more expensive wares. This conscious decision illustrates that creamware was not only an important mark of gentility, but was also used as a way to create identity, especially for a connected but not wealthy widow living in a bustling New England seaport.

Cite this Record

«The Cream of Goods» An Analysis of Creamware from the Narbonne House in Salem, Massachusetts. Nicole Estey. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436746)

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-18,05