International Journal of Historical Archaeology

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 475–497 | Cite as

Landscapes of Power: Middle Class and Lower Class Power Dynamics in a New York Charitable Institution

Article

Abstract

Archaeological and historical research at Sailors’ Snug Harbor uncovered material on this landscape of power. Sailors’ Snug Harbor, located in New York City, was established in 1831 as a private institution for retired and injured seamen who were economically impoverished. In the nineteenth century, between 400 and 800 seamen lived at Snug Harbor, supported by a director (called the governor), an assistant director (the steward), a doctor, a chaplain, and a large support staff. There were rivalries between the middle class administrators of institution especially during the reign of Thomas Melville (1867–84). Because over twenty percent of the retired seamen were former ship captains, in addition to numerous officers such as first mates, there were intense power dynamics between Melville (a former clipper ship captain) and the retired seamen (inmates). The design of the buildings and grounds, the archaeological material, and the primary source documents reveal middle class and lower class power dynamics that existed in this closed community.

Keywords

Cultural landscapes Middle class Lower class Sailors Power 

References

  1. Albion, R. G. (1939). The Rise of the Port of New York, 1815–1860, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Bagger, L. (1873). The Sailors’ Snug Harbor. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 67: 186–197.Google Scholar
  3. Barry, G. J. (2000). The Sailors’ Snug Harbor: A History, Fordham University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Bathe, B. W. (1967). The Clipper’s day. In Jobe, J. (ed.) and Kelly, M. (trans.) The Great Age of Sail, Edita Lausanne, Switzerland, pp. 191–228.Google Scholar
  5. Baugher, S., and Baragli, J. (1987). The Archaeological Investigation at the Matron’s Cottage Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, New York. Submitted by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.Google Scholar
  6. Baugher, S., and De Cunzo, L. A. (2002). Archaeological perspectives on and contributions to the study of colonial American gardens. Landscape Journal 21: 68–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baugher, S., and Lenik, E. J. (1990). An Archaeological Predictive Model of the Shoreline Property of Snug Harbor Cultural Center Staten Island, New York. Submitted by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.Google Scholar
  8. Baugher, S., and Lenik, E. J. (1997). Anatomy of an Almshouse Complex. Northeast Historical Archaeology 26: 1–22.Google Scholar
  9. Baugher, S., and Spencer-Wood, S. W. (eds.) (2001). The archaeology of institutions of reform, Part II: colonial-era almshouses. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 5: 115–202.Google Scholar
  10. Baugher, S., Baragli, J., De Cesare, L., and Venables, R. W. (1985a). An Archaeological Predictive Model of Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Submitted by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.Google Scholar
  11. Baugher, S., Baragli, J., and De Cesare, L. (1985b). An Archaeological Report on the Field Testing at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island. Submitted by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.Google Scholar
  12. Beers, J. B. (1874). Atlas of Staten Island, Richmond County, New York, Archives of the Staten Island Museum, Staten Island, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Beers, J. B. (1887). Atlas of Staten Island, Richmond County, New York, Archives of the Staten Island Museum, Staten Island, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Beisaw, A. M., and Gibb, J. G. (eds.) (2009). The Archaeology of Institutional Life, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.Google Scholar
  15. Bell, E. L. (1993). Historical Archaeology at the Hudson Poor Farm Cemetery, Massachusetts Historical Commission, Boston.Google Scholar
  16. Blumin, S. M. (1989). The Emergence of the Middle Class: Social Experience in the American City, 1760–1900, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  17. Boies, J. J. (1966). Melville’s Staten Island “paradise”. Staten Island Historian 27: 24–28.Google Scholar
  18. Bradley, C. S. (2000). Smoking pipes for the archaeologist. In Karklins, K. (ed.), Studies in Material Culture Research, Society for Historical Archaeology, Uniontown, PA, pp. 104–133.Google Scholar
  19. Cantwell, A.-M., and Wall, D. d. (2001). Unearthing Gotham: The Archaeology of New York City, Yale University Press, New Haven.Google Scholar
  20. Casella, E. C. (2007). The Archaeology of Institutional Confinement, University of Florida Press, Gainesville.Google Scholar
  21. Century Magazine (1884). Sailor’s Snug Harbor 28: 191–201.Google Scholar
  22. Clute, J. J. (1877). Annals of Staten Island, From Its Discovery to the Present Time, Charles Vogt, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Cotz, J. E. (1984). Cultural Resource Study at Sailors’ Snug Harbor for the Morgue Utility Line, Areaway Wall Stabilizations, and the Fire Sprinkler Line. Submitted to David Gibson and Associates, on file at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Dana Jr., R. H. (1840). Two Years Before the Mast, Harper, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Davis, C. G. (1984). American Sailing Ships: Their Plans and History, Dover, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Davis, M. R., and Gilman, W. H. (1960). The Letters of Herman Melville, Yale University Press, New Haven.Google Scholar
  27. De Cunzo, L. A. (1995). Reform, respite, ritual: An archaeology of institutions—the Magdalen Society of Philadelphia, 1800–1850. Historical Archaeology 29(3): 1–168.Google Scholar
  28. Delle, J. A. (1999). The landscapes of class negotiation on the coffee plantations in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, 1790–1850. Historical Archaeology 33(1): 136–159.Google Scholar
  29. Delle, J. A., Mrozowski, S. A., and Paynter, R. (eds.) (2000). Lines That Divide: Historical Archaeologies of Race, Class, and Gender, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.Google Scholar
  30. Engineer’s Annual Report. (1878). Engineer’s Annual Report filed as an appendix to the Governor’s Quarterly Report. Quarterly Reports of Governor Thomas Melville, Director of Sailors’ Snug Harbor; reports on file in the Archives of the State University of New York- Maritime College, Bronx, New York.Google Scholar
  31. Feister, L. (1991). The orphanage at Schuyler Mansion. Northeast Historical Archaeology 20: 27–36.Google Scholar
  32. Fingard, J. (1988). Jack in Port, University of Toronto Press, Toronto.Google Scholar
  33. Fitts, R. K. (1999). The archaeology of middle-class domesticity and gentility in Victorian Brooklyn. Historical Archaeology 33(1): 39–62.Google Scholar
  34. Garman, J. C., and Russo, P. A. (1999). “A disregard of every sentiment of humanity”: The town farm and class realignment. Historical Archaeology 33(1): 118–135.Google Scholar
  35. Geismar, J. H. (1993). Where is night soil? Thoughts on an urban privy. Historical Archaeology 27(2): 57–70.Google Scholar
  36. Gibson, D., Shepherd, B., and Bauer, S. (1979). Sailors’ Snug Harbor: An Historic Structures Report. On file at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, New York.Google Scholar
  37. Governor’s Quarterly Reports. (1867–81). Quarterly Reports of Governor Thomas Melville, Director of Sailors’ Snug Harbor. On file in the Archives of the State University of New York-Maritime College, Bronx, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Hardin, M. A. (1983). Jack’s Last Port: A History of Life at Sailors’ Snug Harbor 1833–1976, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, New York.Google Scholar
  39. Harper’s Weekly (1882). Sailors’ Snug Harbor 26: 506.Google Scholar
  40. Harper’s Weekly (1890). Sailors’ Snug Harbor 34: 239–241.Google Scholar
  41. Hillway, T. (1963). Herman Melville, Twayne, New York.Google Scholar
  42. Johnson, P. E. (1978). A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815–1837, Hill and Wang, New York.Google Scholar
  43. Kelso, W. M. (1990). Landscape archaeology at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. In Kelso, W. M., and Most, R. (eds.), Earth Patterns: Essays in Landscape Archaeology, University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, pp. 7–22.Google Scholar
  44. Leng, C. W., and Davis, W. T. (1930). Staten Island and Its People, Vol. II, Lewis Historical Publishing, New York.Google Scholar
  45. Leone, M. P. (1988). The relationship between archaeological data and the documentary record: eighteenth-century gardens in Annapolis, Maryland. Historical Archaeology 22(1): 29–35.Google Scholar
  46. Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly (1899). Sailors Snug Harbor 88: 122–124.Google Scholar
  47. Leyda, J. (1969). The Melville Log: A Documentary Life of Herman Melville 1819–1891, Vol. 2, Gordian Press, New York.Google Scholar
  48. Main, J. T. (1965). The Social Structure of Revolutionary America, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  49. Melville’s Daily Journal. (1870–83). Thomas Melville’s Daily Journal. On file in the Archives of the State University of New York-Maritime College, Bronx, New York.Google Scholar
  50. Mrozowski, S. A. (2000). The growth of managerial capitalism and the subtleties of class analysis in historical archaeology. In Delle, J. A., Mrozowski, S. A., and Paynter, R. (eds.), Lines That Divide: Historical Archaeologies of Race, Class, and Gender, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, pp. 276–306.Google Scholar
  51. Mrozowski, S. A., Ziesing, G. H., and Beaudry, M. C. (1996). Living on the Boott: Historical Archaeology at the Boott Mills Boardinghouses, Lowell, Massachusetts, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.Google Scholar
  52. Nassaney, M. S., and Abel, M. R. (2000). Urban spaces, labor organization, and social control: lessons from New England’s nineteenth-century cutlery industry. In Delle, J. A., Mrozowski, S. A., and Paynter, R. (eds.), Lines That Divide: Historical Archaeologies of Race, Class, and Gender, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, pp. 239–275.Google Scholar
  53. National Magazine (1853). Institutions for Seamen 3(4): 291–294.Google Scholar
  54. New York Times. (1890). Reforms at the Snug Harbor. August 12, p. 8.Google Scholar
  55. Orser, C. E. Jr. (ed.) (1990). Historical Archaeology on Southern Plantations and Farms. Historical Archaeology 24(4): 1–126.Google Scholar
  56. Parker, H. (2002). Herman Melville: A Biography, Vol. 2, 1851–1891, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  57. Paynter, R., and McGuire, R. H. (eds.) (1991). The Archaeology of Inequality, Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  58. Peña, E. S., and Denmon, J. (2000). The social organization of a boardinghouse: Archaeological evidence from the Buffalo waterfront. Historical Archaeology 34(1): 79–96.Google Scholar
  59. Reckner, P. E. (2001). Negotiating patriotism at the Five Points: clay tobacco pipes and patriotic imagery among trade unionists and nativists in a nineteenth-century New York neighborhood. Historical Archaeology 35(3): 103–114.Google Scholar
  60. Reckner, P. E., and Brighton, S. (1999). “Free from all vicious habits”: Archaeological perspectives on class conflict and the rhetoric of temperance. Historical Archaeology 33(1): 63–86.Google Scholar
  61. Rorabaugh, W. J. (1979). The Alcoholic Republic, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  62. Rybczynski, W. (1999). A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century, Scribner, New York.Google Scholar
  63. Sailors’ Snug Harbor. (1845–46). Summary of the Board of Trustee Minutes. On file in the Archives of the Newhouse Gallery and Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, New York.Google Scholar
  64. Sailors’ Snug Harbor. (1876). By-Laws of the Sailors’ Snug Harbor. On file in the Archives of the Staten Island Historical Society, Staten Island, New York.Google Scholar
  65. Shepherd, B. (1979). Sailors’ Snug Harbor, 1801–1976, Publishing Center for Cultural Resources, New York.Google Scholar
  66. Spann, E. K. (1981). The New Metropolis: New York City, 1840–1857, Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  67. Spencer-Wood, S. M. (ed.) (1987). Consumer Choice in Historical Archaeology, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  68. Spencer-Wood, S. M. (1994). Turn of the century women’s organizations, urban design, and the origin of the American playground movement. Landscape Journal 13: 125–138.Google Scholar
  69. Spencer-Wood, S. M. (2002). The historical archaeology of nineteenth-century American cultural landsapes: A review. Landscape Journal 21: 173–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Spencer-Wood, S. M. (2003). Gendering the creation of green urban landscapes in America at the turn of the century. In Rotman, D. L., and Savulis, E. (eds.), Shared Spaces and Divided Places: Material Dimensions of Gender Relations and the American Historical Landscape, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, pp. 24–61.Google Scholar
  71. Spencer-Wood, S. M., and Baugher, S. (eds.) (2001). The archaeology of institutions of reform, Part I: Asylums. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 5: 3–114.Google Scholar
  72. Spencer-Wood, S. M. (2010). A Feminist Framework for Analyzing Powered Cultural Landscapes in Historical Archaeology. International Journal of Historical Archaeology. doi:10.1007/s10761-010-0122-x.
  73. Vickers, D., and Walsh, V. (2005). Young Men and the Sea: Yankee Seafarers in the Age of Sail, Yale University Press, New Haven.Google Scholar
  74. Wall, D. d. (1994). The Archaeology of Gender: Separating the Spheres in Urban America, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  75. Wurst, L. A., and Fitts, R. K. (eds.) (1999). Confronting class. Historical Archaeology 33(1): 1–195.Google Scholar
  76. Yamin, R., and Metheny, K. B. (eds.) (1996). Landscape Archaeology: Reading and Interpreting the American Historical Landscape, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Landscape ArchitectureCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Cornell University Archaeology ProgramIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations