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Introduction
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Myths and Mermaids
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Life in Port
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Going to Sea
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Lighthouse Keepers
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Changing Roles for Women
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Women in the Military
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Women in Wartime Production
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Early Yachting and Racing
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Women and the Sea in the 20th Century
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Timeline
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Resources
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In This Chapter

Sailor's Departure

The Press Gangs
Working Women
Sailor's Return

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Sailor's Departure

Women were normally expected to remain at home while their men went to sea. While a merchant seaman could have some idea of the length of a voyage, a naval man enjoyed no such knowledge. His family lost his income and support until he returned from the sea—if he returned at all.

The Sailor's Adieu
Nathaniel Currier, lithographer and publisher
The Mariners' Museum
The women and children left behind attempted to survive by plying a variety of trades in ports and harbors or by returning to live with their families in rural areas. Some women survived, though in poverty, by providing needed services such as laundry, sewing, or mending; by selling supplies, food, or mementos; or by running taverns and boarding houses for sailors coming into port.

Looking Out to Sea
George Hitchcock
The Mariners' Museum




Activity:
Discussion questions:
What types of jobs would be available to women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? Would there be a difference in what a married or single woman could do? Brainstorm how jobs have changed for women in the twenty-first century. Check your theories at the section on Modern Women.


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