"“There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out."

As many of you who follow this blog, or have at the chance to talk to me in person, may know, my particular bailiwick is the social history of women during the 18th century. I am also a lover of primary source research. What you might not know however is that I have a particular fondness for reading through old laws & statutes. I find a certain satisfaction in not only being able to say "here's how they did it" but in also being able to back that up with "because here's the law that says so."

For the past several years I have searched for one, very specific piece of information. Sometimes vigorously, sometimes half heartedly, yet I was always looking. I knew it was out there. I even knew the dates & location it was coming from, but I was never able to actually find what I wanted.

Wouldn't you know I found it the one time that I wasn't actively looking!

What exactly is this mythical "thing" that I've spent nearly 3 years hunting you might ask?

The 1717 Pennsylvania Act Concerning Feme Sole Traders (!)

The full text of the statute is included in The Legislative Reference Bureau of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's on-line archive which includes laws dating back to the beginning of Pennsylvania in 1682.

I can not even begin to express my excitement at finding this document. It's the perfect "final piece" to all the research I've gathered on feme sole traders in the era.

Hopefully at least some of you, my faithful blog readers & fellow history fanatics, will appreciate my joy!

works cited:

Sansom, Joseph. Silhouette of Mary Pleasants. c. 1800. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA.

An Act of February 22, 1717-18 (3 St.l. 157-59, Ch.227). "Pennsylvania Session Laws, Introduction to Statutes at Large." Pennsylvania Session Laws Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. http://www.palrb.us/stlarge/index.php.