The archaeology of childhood: Toys in 19<sup>th</sup> century upstate New York
Much of the historical literature on 19th century childhood, including attitudes towards toys and other children’s material, originated from and was written for the urban middle class. Rural and working class families often lived realities inconsistent with middle class values concerning children-raising such as opposition to child labor. By the mid 19th century, American social discourse emphasized the importance of a childhood with certain middle class attributes and specific children’s materials in perpetuating healthy, successful, middle class families and allowing lower class families the possibility of social mobility. I compare the children’s material excavated from rural and urban sites across New York State. I argue that rather than an urban and rural difference in children’s material as expected from historical sources, there is a greater temporal difference. Children’s materials appear in greater numbers and diversity at both urban and rural New York State sites following the Civil War.
0337: American history