Seafaring Women in Confined Quarters: Living Conditions aboard Ships in 19th Century

Author(s): Laurel Seaborn

Year: 2018

Summary

Wives, sisters, daughters and nieces of captains lived at sea on merchant and whaling ships that sailed from New England during the 19th century. Their outer world may have expanded while voyaging to distant ports around the globe, but their physical world contracted severely. Spatial analysis of the rooms women lived in reveals the amount of space they inhabited within a ship. In 1856, Henrietta Deblois noted that she could not go forward to the fo’c’sle where the crew bunked. Seafaring women experienced a circumscribed area of the ship, mainly away from the working sailors, and within these limits they attempted to create a domestic haven. Primary documents mention items built or brought specifically for women, such as birdcages, small deckhouses, and parlor organs. Investigation of the material culture associated with women aboard shows how they domesticated space, altered their restricted environment, and made a home on the ship. 

Cite this Record

Seafaring Women in Confined Quarters: Living Conditions aboard Ships in 19th Century. Laurel Seaborn. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441611)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 1089