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Patron Leather Artisans

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Abstract

Establishment in the trades could come in many different ways. Those leather craft artisans who established independent enterprises, whether guild or unincorporated, possessed a certain social and material standing that ranked above the city’s journeymen and other semiskilled and unskilled workers. Generally speaking, guild masters enjoyed a social and economic status that was higher than their non-guild counterparts and placed them in the middle or lower-middle of the socioeconomic hierarchy of old-regime Bordeaux. Despite paternalistic corporate regulations aimed to promote the fair and broad distribution of labor and wealth, there existed disparities in workshop size among masters as well as a wide variation of fortune between and within the trades. Economic differentiation among masters often exposed and correlated with varying levels of compliance with paternalistic guild regulations and allegiance to corporate leadership. As economic and political disparities among guild brethren became more pronounced and professional differences between guild masters and neighboring tradesmen and non-guild workers became less apparent, corporate officials were ever more determined to assert and defend their differentiated corporate status and identity, which, like their economic prerogatives, increasingly were challenged during the second half of the eighteenth century.1

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Large Employer Household Good Trade Community Marriage Contract 
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Notes

  1. 21.
    Maurice Garden, “Ouvriers et artisans au XVIIIe siècle: L’exemple lyonnais et les problèmes de classification,” Revue d’histoire économique et sociale 4, (1970), pp. 45–46.Google Scholar
  2. 33.
    During the second half of the eighteenth century (1777–1786) 58 percent of Bordeaux men and 37 percent of the city’s women could sign their names. During the middle of the eighteenth century (1752–1754), 89 percent of all of the city’s masters and 73 percent of their wives were able to sign their marriage contracts (François Furet and Jacques Ozouf, eds., L’Alphabétisation des Françaises de Calvin à Jules Ferry (Paris: Éditions Minuit, 1977), pp. 294–351; Gibertie, annexe, p. 36).Google Scholar
  3. 42.
    See: Clare Haru Crowston, Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675–1791 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Daryl M. Hafter, Women at Work in Preindustrial France (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2007).Google Scholar
  5. 55.
    Jeff Horn, “Privileged Enclaves: Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Eighteenth-Century France,” Proceedings of the Western Society for French History 32, (2004), p. 5.Google Scholar

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© Daniel Heimmermann 2014

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