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Interpreting the Evidence

Interior of a Tailor Shop, Painting by Quiringh van Brekelenkam, 1653

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Colonial America (1630s - 1760)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Colonial America

  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Interior of a Tailor Shop, Painting by Quiringh van Brekelenkam, 1653 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Interior of a Tailor Shop, by Quiringh van Brekelenkam, 1653.
Historical Context
Tailors of the 1600s performed a variety of tasks for those who could afford their services. While many households produced their own clothing, wealthier families were able to employ the services of a master tailor. The process of becoming a tailor was much like other trades of the time period. An individual in their early teen years would be apprenticed to a tailor to learn the trade.
Tailors in the early Dutch colony of Rensselaerswyck performed work for both the wealthy and as a service to the poorer community. Evidence, in the form of receipts and church deacons' records, suggests that tailors made and repaired clothing for wealthy families like the van Rensselaers and for those in need through the community church. Tailors would have been reliant on the import of specialty cloth from the many countries within the Dutch global trade network.
Essential Question
Why were tailors an important part of the community?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the painting and explain the role of the tailor.