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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

Taverns and Coffeehouses: Respectability in Early America

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. 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 measured differently. While coffeehouses are not prevalent in the colonies until the late eighteenth century, the nature and perception of the 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.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: Stephanie Haibach (Graduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 219 Hartwell
Time: 9 am Session I