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Interpreting the Evidence

Tailor Account (Receipt), Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1658 and 1659

  • 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:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Tailor Account (Receipt), Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1658 and 1659 in Main Image Viewer
  2. Load Tailor Account (Receipt), Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1658 and 1659 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Tailor receipt for Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1658 and 1659.
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
Explain the role of the tailor in the community.
An innocent is a loose-fitting, loose-hanging dressing gown, worn in the second half of the 17th century in France by ladies, and in the Dutch Republic also by men. An explanation for the name would be that someone wearing this clothing looked somewhat childlike.
In general a kleet is something to cover the body, a piece of clothing, often outer garments.