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Good Wares and Modest Manners: The Salem Store Entrusted to Merchant Traugott Bagge, 1775-1800

Directed by Directed by Jo Leimenstoll 373 pp.


The objective of this thesis was to analyze the extant 1775 Store in Salem, North Carolina by instigating a case study of the building, goods and products contained therein, and the people associated with the Store. Merchant Traugott Bagge was responsible for managing this church-owned commercial venture of a theocratic community of the Moravian church, located in the North Carolina backcountry. Research sought to ascertain the significance of this business to the community and the surrounding area. Disciplines of Cultural Landscape, Material Culture, and Cultural History informed this process. Data collection from community diaries, architectural drawings, maps, artists' images, photographs, trade letters, and inventories, provided enormous amounts of data which was organized in chronological order in a searchable database. Jules Prown's Object Analysis and Stewart Brand's Layers of Change provided the methodology. Seven layers borrowed from Brand created the framework for analysis: Site, Structure, Skin, Services, Space Plan, Stuff and Souls. The overarching theme of this study identifies the intersection of material culture and people and the myriad of ways that the Salem Store impacted the backcountry community, through its network of connections: the connections between people in the Salem community and outside; the connections between people in Salem--the Bagge family, store staff, Salem residents, and "outsider" customers; and the connections between people and the material culture of architecture and objects. By coaxing out the stories in the Store, it was possible to regain some of the lost meaning and purpose of this structure, and thus re-soul the building.

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