Skip to Content

A Glimpse into Early American Farming

1 Favorite 2 Copies (view)

This collection features colonial American farms, farming implements, and farm-related items to examine facets of agricultural life in early America. The origin, use, and preservation of these items in some cases allows us to discover where colonists procured their instruments, why and how they used them, and where, in addition to the layout of a farm landscape and who interacted with it. Agriculture provided settlers with a means to survive, whether they resided in Massachusetts or Virginia; production of food from within a settlement was key to colonial survival, and ultimately allowed colonies to progress. While early New England colonists grew crops enough for trade and subsistence, agriculture boomed in the South, and the majority of pieces in this collection are from the South. Fertile Virginia soils birthed the economy-shaping tobacco industry and formed subsequent socioeconomic developments of farm culture, including the institution of slavery and the wealthy planter class. Diving into the everyday tools, settings, and situations that early Americans used and encountered provides fascinating access into the small pieces that ultimately created thriving colonies—those often overlooked and seemingly menial. I believe that acknowledging the agricultural means by which early Americans survived is critical to a well-rounded appreciation of their context!

Please enjoy this collection and its reflection of the hard work of early colonists and their labor forces.