Details of Change
by Susan Titus
Deerfield changed markedly because of national
influences: the economy, immigration, migration to the West, the
Civil War, and industrialization.
- Demographic changes
• Civil War casualties and increasing westward
migration significantly reduced the number of working-age men
• After the Civil War, this reduction, together with a lessoned
interest in farming, paved the way for land ownership to be
transferred to the recently arrived Eastern Europeans.
• Immigrants found employment opportunities in industry and
• A greater number of women entered the workforce.
- Industry diversified because of the availability
of resources, customer demand and an available source of labor.
• Communities that had access to waterpower
and steam power became increasingly more industrialized.
• Initially, industry grew in the places where natural resources
were available. Mills needed water to power machines, and access
to convenient and reliable transportation to move raw materials
and finished goods.
• Industries such as paper, cutlery, and textiles developed
in the region.
• As the century moves on, changes in manufacturing technology
and large-scale transportation allowed industry to move away
from sources of waterpower and water transport.
• New technology made it possible to farm larger tracts, resulting
in fewer, larger farms.
- In the United States, the Colonial Revival
emerged as a response to industrialization, immigration, and mass
• The Colonial Revival was a national movement
characterized by nostalgia for an earlier period in American
history, which was perceived to be simpler, healthier, and truer
to the ideals of the nation. The growth of historic preservation,
the founding of historical societies, the revival of "ancient"
or "traditional" crafts, the re-creation of moments in history
via historical pageantry, and an increase in writing about the
past were all expressions of this trend.
• Some Deerfield residents embraced the Colonial Revival. At
the end of the 19th century, immigration and industrialization
had changed the town's demographics. Facing a loss of economic
and cultural control, residents on the Deerfield "Street" turned
to history and tourism to revive both their income and their
• Deerfield was a center of the Colonial Revival movement, as
is evidenced by the following:
- The founding of the Pocumtuck Valley
Memorial Association in 1870;
- The development, promotion, and presentation of three historical
pageants after the turn of the century;
- The creation of Deerfield Industries, a collaborative group
of artisans who embraced the arts and crafts ideals;
- The creation of the Deerfield Blue and White Society;
- The historical allegories and nostalgic themes in the Allen
- The origin of the Summer Institutes of Language and Romance;
• Deerfield marketed its history to thousands
of visitors. Many tourist services emerged such as the trolley,
mountain houses, teahouses, and inns.
• Throughout this period of rapid social and economic change
the Deerfield Street changed comparatively little. Deerfield
became a shrine to its 18th-century past.
- Reform movements around the issues of safety
and health, and suffrage flourished.
• Leading up to 1880 -- A wide variety of
reform movements flourished in the 19th century in the nation:
temperance, educational reforms (Americanization), suffrage,
and abolition. The nature of the reforms being advocated evolved
and changed over the 19th century, but the impetus to reform
- During the Progressive Era there was growth
in technology, industry, accessibility to information, the middle
class, and an evolution of women's roles inside and outside the
• The 20th century began with women enmeshed
in the 19th century concept of the "cult of domesticity," which
dictated their appropriate roles and proper sphere, limiting
her opportunities in life. In the early 19th century, wives
and mothers were seen as protectors of democracy and perpetuators
of the ideals of the new United States. By the turn of the 20th
century, women were also responsible for preserving the family
unit and protecting it from the potentially disruptive influences
of an increasingly urban and industrial society. The role of
women was slated to change.
• The availability of manufactured goods rapidly increased.
The middle class grew, and consumer culture evolved as products
became more affordable and available.
• Technology changed the home environment, the workplace, and
the roles of men, women, and children. It also provided opportunities
• There was an explosion of information. Newspapers and advertising
grew and new communication mediums such as radio and the telegraph
• World Fairs were held to demonstrate the positive advances
• Controversy occurred surrounding Deerfield's definition of
itself and what it wished to become.
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