Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


Unless otherwise indicated, all Institute books are published and distributed by The University of North Carolina Press. For ordering information, call 1.800.848.6224 or fax 1.800.272.6817. Please note that these books can be purchased only through UNC Press and not through the Institute.

In Public Houses

Drink and the Revolution of Authority in Colonial Massachusetts

David Conroy

Paper ISBN 978-0-8078-4521-9

Copyright 1995 by the University of North Carolina Press

A Prize-Winning Book

  Choice Outstanding Academic Title (1995)
  Herbert Feis Award, American Historical Association (1996)

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“Everyone knows that taverns were colorful and important in colonial life. But not until David Conroy’s book have we understood how the dynamics of tavern life and the phenomenon of drinking reveal changing patterns of power—the sources of power, how power was used, and how it was contested. In Public Houses is a brilliant blending of social, political, institutional, intellectual, and cultural history. Among this generation’s scholarly outpouring on colonial and revolutionary New England, Conroy’s book is one of the most fascinating and important.”

--Gary B. Nash

“Conroy insightfully recreates struggles over the context and meaning of drink, the controversial role of poor and female tavernkeepers, and the nature of public order in the eighteenth century.”

--Barbara Clark Smith

“Offers an entirely new dimension to the uneasy connection—and competition—between the elite and plebian worlds of eighteenth-century Massachusetts, where social hierarchy, economic distress, and political opportunism accompanied the Revolution into the modern era.”

--David Konig