By: Gloria Seaman Allen
Textile furnishings made during the eighteenth century and used in southern homes are today very rare. Only a few examples, which were very costly or had ceremonial or personal significance, have been preserved. These were usually the possessions of the upper classes. Estate inventories extend our knowledge of eighteenth century textiles beyond the holdings of the wealthy. They record the possessions of a large socioeconomic cross section of society from the very wealthy to the reasonably poor. An analysis of three hundred sixty estate inventories, recorded between 1710 and 1820, reveals considerable information about the textile furnishings of residents of one small southern community – Kent County, Maryland.