Inga Vladimirovna Maslova,
The World of Childhood in Merchant Families of the Russian Empire in the 19th – Early 20th Centuries
The article is devoted to the study of the history of сhildhood in the merchant families of the Russian Empire in the second half of the 19th – early 20th century. A child in a merchant’s family had a separate status, which was determined by a number of characteristics. The temporal characteristics include the age stages of the virginity period (infant, preschooler, school student) and a special “children’s” daily routine. The category of space was expressed in the presence of conditional boundaries separating the children’s world from the world of adults: the space of the children’s room, the children’s area at the family table, places for children’s games in the garden. The allocation of children’s space performed several functions at once: protective (protecting children from injuries, sources of illness), dividing: highlighting the boundaries between members of the same family, as if identifying among them those who are able to make independent decisions and be responsible for their actions (adults) and those in need of care and custody (children). The child in the family of a merchant had his own world with toys, children’s dishes, furniture and clothes. Finally, childhood was accompanied by a special world of things, in which cultural meanings inherent in a given family, merchant class, country, and historical era were consolidated. As the main sources for illustrating each of the named characteristics, the author has chosen the memories of the childhood of two representatives of the merchant families T. Karson and S. Durylin. Memories written by a man and a woman, on the one hand, make it possible to reveal the specifics of the female or male perception of the children’s world, on the other, to determine the basic cultural characteristics inherent in childhood in merchant families.
The article has been received by the editor on 23.11.2020
How to cite: Maslova I.V. The World of Childhood in Merchant Families of the Russian Empire in the 19th – Early 20th Centuries // Historical Courier, 2021, No. 1 (15), pp. 66–73. [Available online:] http://istkurier.ru/data/2021/ISTKURIER-2021-1-06.pdf
Links: Issue 1 2021
Keywords: childhood history; merchants; family; upbringing traditions; the world of things