Small World: Toys, Dolls, and Games in New England

June 24, 2017 - June 24, 2017 | 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Deerfield Community Center - 16 Memorial Street, Deerfield, MA 01342


Small World: Toys, Dolls, and Games in New England is a one-day conference of nine lectures on the culture of children’s play in New England and adjacent areas of New York and Canada during the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. The conference opens with talks on the material culture of toys by fashion specialists, archaeologists, and historians who will discuss the making of high-style dolls, the distribution of toys in girls’ industrial schools, and toy-making during and after the Civil War. It continues with an examination of English emblematical books for children, printed board games designed for young minds, and the evolution of children’s libraries in the larger eighteenth century. The conference concludes with a look at the growth of the outdoor games of baseball and football in the face of “blue laws” and the military occupiers of Revolutionary Boston. Participants are invited to bring items from their collections for display and discussion. Papers from this conference will be published by the Dublin Seminar.

Program Schedule

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Door opens for registration and refreshments

9 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Philip Zea, President, Historic Deerfield, Inc.

9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Section I: Towards a Material Culture of Toys

Amanda Hinckle, Bard Graduate Center
A Fashionable Schooling: Looking at an Eighteenth-Century Doll in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Collection

Sarah Johnson, University of Massachusetts Boston
The Archeology of the Industrial School for Girls, Dorchester, Massachusetts

Maura D’Amore, St. Michael’s College
Make Your Own Toys and Rebuild the Nation: Civil-War Era Paper Toy Manuals

10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Section II: Games and Books

Lily Elizabeth Higgins, Yale University
“A New and Stranger Sight”: The Legacy of Allegory, Emblems, and Interactive Images from a Seventeenth-Century English Toy Book

Cheryl Harned, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Out of the Box: Packaging Other Worlds as Toys for the 19th-Century Imagination

Amy Breimaier, University of Massachusetts Amherst
“A library of our own”: Preparing the Rising Generation in Salisbury, Connecticut

12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Deerfield Inn

Historic Deerfield Museum Houses Open
Tickets: Visitor Center at Hall Tavern

2:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Section II: Games and Books (cont.)
Peter Benes, Dublin Seminar
English “Totum Games” played in New England 1795 through 1830

3 p.m.– 4 p.m.
Section III: Outdoor Games
Jay Hurd, Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, Bristol, Rhode Island
Moral Rectitude vs. Indecent Amusement: Baseball and the Blue Laws in New England

J. L. Bell,
Political Football: The Signification of Rough Sport in Military-Occupied Boston

4 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Closing remarks


To register, download the brochure (PDF) or register online.