During this period the realms of the public and the private became increasingly separated, with increasingly separate roles for men and women. Changes in cultural values concerning gender, ideals about family relationships, and ideas of the appropriate role women brought uncertainty, confusion, and contradiction. Anne Powell's life embodied this shift in values and provides an example of how they were carried from the old world to the new. A Life of Propriety makes an innovative contribution to the literature on women in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and will also be of interest to scholars in women's studies, and early Ontario and Canadian history, as well as to the general reader. "Sets the story of the Powell family in the context of a growing international literature on gender and family relations in an important period of change ... a captivating story and a great read." Alison Prentice, Department of History and Philosophy, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
Part 1 Learning and living the lessons of propriety: Early years in Boston; The founding of a family, 1775-1800; Establishing social status: Anne Powell and York society. Part 2 The intersections of male and female gender roles: Married life - Anne and William; Brothers - George and John; Sons. Part 3 The transmission of female gender roles: Education; Marriage and childbirth; The limitations of "woman's sphere". Part 4 Conclusion - "A solitary tree shorn of its branches": old age.