History 201
Inventories Comparison Assignment
Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History
Fall 2014

The purpose of this assignment is to compare and contrast the lives of two colonial people as presented in their inventories taken at the time of their death.   Your sources are those documents found at the Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History at SU.

The product of this assignment will be the result of your own realistic creativity.  You may look at two members of the same family of the same generation or two different generations; you may choose to analyze the lives of an obviously poor person versus a wealthy planter; or you may choose to compare a man's lot versus a woman's, or two women of different periods.  Who you choose to examine is up to you.  You must select one inventory from a binder of inventories already transcribed from the microfilm (these are also available on the Research Center website).  Your other inventory must come directly from the microfilm library housed in the Research Center.  Please be sure that you do not select an individual whose inventory is already in the binder.  This provides you with the invaluable experience and challenge to decipher and transcribe an inventory. Please decipher every word if possible.  Do not pick any inventory dated after 1700.

Here are some general questions you may want to address in your analysis:

1.      What do you find of most value in the inventories?

2.      Why are these items so valuable to the people?

3.      How often is livestock reflected in the inventory?  What types?

4.      Of the livestock mentioned, what animal is most expensive and why?

5.      Can you identify items that would have specifically belonged to men, to women, or to children

6.      What items do you find mentioned in both inventories?

7.      What can you tell about the literacy of these people and how?

8.      Can you tell how religious these people are from the inventories?

9.      Do you find slaves mentioned in the inventories?

10.  When slaves are mentioned, do you find differences in how they were valued, and how they were listed?

11.  How important do you feel tools were to the people of the colonial period?

12.  What kinds of implements do you find missing from the inventories that would be used to sustain these early colonists?

13.  What types of foods did these people eat?

14.  What type of home do you think these people lived in?

15.  What do you find most often as far as furniture is concerned?

16.  What sort of clothing did he or she own?

17.  What sort of household objects did these people have?

18.  What items can you find that differentiate wealthier people from poorer ones?

19.  What can you discern about his or her lifestyle?

This paper should not be shorter than 3 pages, nor longer than 5 pages, double-spaced, typed in 12-point Times New Roman, 1 margins, and carefully proofread.  Please maintain a copy on disc.  Clearly, you will need to write concisely to do justice to these documents in 5 pages.  In addition to these text pages, please include:

1.      a clean, typed copy of each inventory you used, headed by the individual's name and the year of their death (you should have 2 typed inventories)

2.      a photocopy of the original inventory from the microfilm.

3.      a title page with your name, class, semester, and assignment title.

Remember, the personnel at the Research Center are there to help you.  If you don't know where to find something or are confused, ask someone!  Keep in mind that you are working with primary source documents that have not been interpreted previously.  These records were left behind by the original colonists of this region.  You are writing original historical research!

All work is expected to be that of the student who submits it.

This paper is due in class on, or before, October 1(2), 2014. You must also submit electronically a copy of the text of your paper to Turnitin via MyClasses.
No late papers will be accepted.

Rules to observe while working at the Research Center:

1.      Do not bring any food or drinks into the Research Center.

2.      Please sign in and out in the book located just inside the door.  This is important as the activity level in the center directly affects grant applications and donations.

3.      Please show respect for all books and documents used and treat them as valuable resources.  We want them available for use by future generations!

4.      Please respect other individuals working there.  Loud talking is discouraged but conversations relevant to information sought or found is permissible if the noise level is kept low.

5.      Please note the hours when the Research Center is open - they are not the same as Blackwell Library.

6.      There is a charge for copies - $.25 for microfilm copies and $.10 for Xerox copies.