Women, Men, and Taverns in Tavern-Keeper Ely Playter's Journal
AbstractEly Playter kept a tavern in York, Upper Canada, in 1801 and 1802. His journal depicts his public house and those he frequented as places in which women were seen as often as men. Yet gender was a powerful determinant of who enjoyed free access to the public life that taverns housed. Only within the context of close male companionship did women find room there. Taverns were also sites in which public life mixed with household life, and many women were thus literally at home in taverns. By constructing taverns as male spaces, we hide the complex experiences of these women. Without contradicting the power of male privilege, Playter’s journal places taverns within the rest of the pre-industrial social landscape, as spaces in which women and men both belonged.