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Student Activity based on the Estate Inventory of Captain Anthony Beck

Use these categories to organize the items listed in the inventory. Then, use your chart to address the questions posed in the next section of this page.

 

Fire/Heating
Lighting
Sleeping
Storage
Cooking
Drinking
Dining
Grooming
Seating
Sanitation Maritime Items Livestock
Tools
Decoration
Status Items
Trading
Books
Momentos
Recreation
People

 

Questions based on the Estate Inventory of Captain Anthony Beck

  1. What questions does this inventory raise about Anthony Beck and his activities in London Town?  
  2. What occupations and sources of income are suggested?
  3. How many people are listed as members of his household? How large might his house have been?
  4. Which types of items were appraised at the highest values?
  5. Which items are most and least valued (monetarily) in this inventory.   Looking at your own household, which possessions have the highest and lowest monetary values?  Compare and contrast the relative values of items in your household with those in Captain Beck's London Town home.
  6. Why are possessions described as "old" or "broke looking" included in the inventory?  What does their inclusion suggest regarding permanent vs. disposable possessions?
  7. What leisure activities might the household have engaged?
  8. Organize this inventory by grouping possessions into categories such as dining implements, clothing, furniture, etc. Be certain to define each item carefully so that you know how to categorize it. Determine values for each category.  How and why might Mr. Beck have owned the quantities he owned of various goods?
  9. Hypothesize from your reading of the inventory about the role of African Americans in the household?
  10. Reflect on a household inventory as a "window" into a historical figure's life.  What types of questions can it answer and, more importantly, what questions does it generate?
  11. Often our most prized possessions are not those with the highest monetary value.  Choose a possession from Mr. Beck's inventory and write a fictional paragraph explaining how and why this possession is most valuable to him.  From your work with this site, incorporate as many factual details as possible.
  12. Make a detailed drawing of a room in Mr. Beck's house showing household possessions listed in his inventory.
  13. What type of possessions did Mr. Beck own that indicate his probable social class?
  14. Do an inventory of your own home and compare and contrast it to Anthony Beck's household
  15. Are you surprised by any possessions that are either listed or omitted in this inventory? Why or why not? 

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