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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Coffee Houses and Colonial American Respectability

During the mid-seventeenth century in the Western World, respectability began to be associated with sobriety, particularly in order to conduct business. Taverns were labeled as places of disrepute, from their insobriety and violence. Coffeehouses have been portrayed as establishments that promoted sobriety and subsequently respectability, as an alternative to the taverns. Despite this portrayal in Great Britain, coffeehouses in the American colonies did not carry the same definition of respectability. Coffeehouses and taverns in the American colonies were in fact close in nature, and respectability was not tied to sobriety. While coffeehouses were not prevalent in the colonies until the late eighteenth century, the nature and perception of coffeehouses still existed, even in the late seventeenth century. Ultimately, coffeehouses and taverns held the same respectability in the early eighteenth century, considering that both establishments sold alcohol.

Presenter: Stephanie Haibach (SUNY Brockport) --
Topic: History II - Panel
Location: 218 Hartwell
Time: 9:40 am (Session I)