Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski

Second Advisor

Christa M. Beranek

Third Advisor

Heather B. Trigg


Despite rivaling textiles as the most lucrative industry in 19th-century New England, the production of boots and shoes has received little attention from archaeologists, who instead have concentrated on company housing associated with textile mills. Since the industrialization of the shoe industry relied more heavily on the division of labor than the development of factories, the archaeological signature of shoemaking is relatively ephemeral, creating an academic bias towards the study of shoes in domestic rather than commercial contexts. Therefore, the presence of shoemaking tools at the Hassanamesit Woods Augustus Salisbury site in Grafton, Massachusetts offers a unique opportunity to investigate changes in the shoemaking process, thus shifting the historical narrative away from an individual experience of consumerism and towards a collective experience of industrialization. Extensive documentary analysis provides insights into the consequences of industrial transition, revealing patterns of geographic and socioeconomic mobility amongst the class of laborers that lived and worked at the site from 1850 to 1890. Ultimately, this analysis of shoemaking tools and census data reveals patterns in the collective experience of a highly mobile working class who engaged in agricultural and industrial labor and leveraged the domestic arrangement at HWAS in an attempt to gain economic independence.


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