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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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Working Women
OWNING A STORE
Petticoat Row
Sailors' wives with an entrepreneurial bent and a little capital sometimes opened small shops. Centre Street in Nantucket became known as "Petticoat Row" because there were so many female shopkeepers. The shops there sold everything from household staples to fine imported goods.
After nine months' progress . . . coming into our house, I found only my poor wife and a young child of three weeks old in a cradle. She, being surprised, could hardly speak to me, for she knew not before whether I was dead or alive. . . . [M]y wife soon turned the Holland [fabric] into money. . . . As I remember it sold for nine pounds, which was then our stock; for my wife, having good friends, with her own industry kept me out of debt. . . . [I] came home only my clothes to my back to my poor wife, but poor and penniless yet glad to see each other in health again after these troubles. . . . At this time my wife did begin to keep shop, there being a necessity for something to be done for a livelihood. —Merchant marine Edward Coxere, from his journals, circa 1865
Original Drawing by Barbara Wright



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