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Class

The question of “class” in America today is contentious. My own view has been shaped by having grown up in the 1950s, when Ozzie and Harriet slept in separate beds and father knew best. Our family were definitely middle class, aspirational, upwardly mobile. I was the first member to attend college; and there was no question that I would: my father wanted for me a better life than even he had enjoyed, and his (all things considered) had been better than his father’s.

So “Class” in Agincourt would have expressed itself in several ways: in housing stock and neighborhood; in the school you would have attended; and most certainly in the source of family income. There were capitalists in Agincourt, to be sure — Aidan Archer, for example, owner of a cookware manufactory, who employed many but did no actual “work” himself — but there were many more who worked with there hands, who labored for themselves or for an hourly wage — Nina Köpman, for example, the housekeeper and cook who worked for the Archers. You may be able to detect where my sympathies lie.

hardware blacksmith

These two postcard images will present (for the time being) the range of the middle class: Boone’s Hardware and a yet-to-be-named balcksmith at the southwest corner of town. Each I’m certain has an interesting, even poignant, story to tell, and in time I will. What the images share, it seems to me, is manifest pride in their respective roles in the community; roles compounded by gender, church or lodge membership, public service and political activity, all those things that weave us into a culture.

[Both of these postcards, I should add, are far too expensive for my budget, so the image itself will have to do.]

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