NEWPORT, R.I. – Marian Mathison Desrosiers, a two-time Fulbright Scholar and adjunct professor of history and humanities at Salve Regina, will present a free public lecture, “Private Lives, Public Spaces: John Banister and Rhode Island's Colonial Consumers” on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 4:30 p.m. at Colony House, Washington Square, Newport.
Banister (1707–1767), was a wealthy merchant of colonial Newport, whose role in history may be interpreted through his account books. Desrosiers’ research considers: the types and quantities of products traded; the details of building and outfitting of ships; the importance of European and Asian textiles in the English colonies prior to the Industrial Revolution; the costs and types of family expenses dictated by need and status; income comparisons of merchants, captains, sailors, craftsmen, and laborers; and the importance of “Negroes” and other laborers who worked on his wharf or maintained his ships, as well as women shopkeepers who bought goods transported on his ships.
The presentation illuminates how globalization and technology reshaped private lives in the eighteenth century. The research was supported by a grant from the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities.