Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Christa M. Beranek

Second Advisor

David B. Landon

Third Advisor

R. Timothy Sieber


This thesis aims to further the study of childhood in archaeology through the examination of a children’s aid institution in Progressive New England. Specifically, this research explores how the Progressive and Victorian aims of Chase Home for Children, as expressed in primary sources, are manifested in the material culture. Chase Home participated in the larger Progressive movement in its mission to train children “in the practical duties, to encourage habits of honesty, truthfulness, purity and industry, to prepare them to take their position in life as useful members of society” (Children’s Home Pamphlet 1878). An analysis of small finds from excavations at Chase Home includes fragments of toy dolls, tea sets, marbles, and slate pencils and boards. These objects illustrate the Home’s physical progress towards its goals. Further analysis of the individuals who lived in Chase Home examines the effect of the institution on their life trajectories. This thesis aims to further the inclusion of children in archaeological analysis due to their importance in evaluating larger socio-cultural movements.