Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


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Adapting to a New World

English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake

James Horn

Paper ISBN 978-0-8078-4614-8

Copyright 1994 by the University of North Carolina Press

A Prize-Winning Book

  Maryland Historical Society Book Prize (1995)

Visit the University of North Carolina Press web page for this book.

“Horn forces us again and again to see major topics in Chesapeake history—the organization of families, political stability and disorder, the nature of work, material culture, religious organization and beliefs—in a new light. . . . The consequence is a major contribution to the social history of Maryland and Virginia that has important implications for our understanding of all of British America.”

--Russell R. Menard

“An impressive achievement. It conjures up an entirely credible picture of the experience of English men and women, arriving in the Chesapeake with their baggage of assumptions carried over from England—some shed, some preserved virtually intact, some modified and adapted by the new circumstances. . . . It rivets attention and carries conviction.”

--Joan Thirsk

“James Horn’s Adapting to a New World is the most important general study of seventeenth-century Chesapeake society in the twenty years since Edmund Morgan’s American Slavery, American Freedom. Against the background of a sophisticated analysis of English local societies as represented by the counties Gloucester and Kent, he explores in more depth and with more cogency than any previous scholar how settlers adapted English patterns of social organization, work, private and public life, and religion to the social landscapes they created in the New World. . . . The volume is far and away the most sophisticated study yet published on the transfer of English culture to the Chesapeake.”

--Jack P. Greene