The Wheatons and the “Worldwide Web of Cotton Production”

I’ve spent the past several weeks completing a paper for a conference I’ll be attending the first weekend in March. Civil War–Global Conflict is hosted by the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program at the College of Charleston. The paper uses the occasion of the 1862 European journey of Eliza Baylies Wheaton, Laban Morey Wheaton, and David Emory Holman as a prompt for examining the connections between the business interests of David Emory Holman and Laban Morey Wheaton and what historian Sven Beckert has called “the worldwide web of cotton production” in the mid-nineteenth century. Watch this space over the next week or so for insights from the paper and additional research about the cotton and straw hat industries in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s, as well as some hints about antislavery activism in Norton, Massachusetts between 1831 and 1861.

Sven Beckert, “Emancipation and Empire: Reconstructing the World-Wide Web of Cotton Production in the Age of the Civil War,” American Historical Review 109, no. 5 (Dec. 2004): 1405-1438.


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