Homespun movement

The homespun movement was started in 1767 by Quakers in Boston, Massachusetts, to encourage the purchase of goods, especially apparel, manufactured in the American Colonies.[1] The movement was created in response to the British Townshend Acts of 1767 and 1768, in the early stages of the American Revolution.[2][3]

A New England kitchen, engraving in A Brief History of the United States (1885) by Joel Dorman Steele


In the 17th century, the Kingdom of England was vested in protecting its textile manufacturing, one of its largest industries. The British discouraged their colonies in America from producing wool, expecting Americans to import textile from England and in return serve as its suppliers of raw materials. When the colonies began skirting this arrangement, the Wool Act of 1699 was passed barring them from exporting wool, wool yarn, and wool cloth. This spurred a movement to instead use flax and hemp to make home spun textiles,[4] including linen,[5] rather than purchase from the English.[4]

American RevolutionEdit

Homespun became a term used to describe all American-made cotton, linen, and wool textile. With the popularity of the boycott of British goods, wearing homespun clothing became a patriotic symbol of the fight against British rule.[6] Women in particular took a leading role in the movement by avoiding imported satin and silk but instead using locally-made materials to spin cloths.[7] They made spinning into a social event.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hunt-Hurst, Patricia (2015). "Quaker Dress". In Blanco F., José; Hunt-Hurst, Patricia Kay; Lee, Heather Vaughan; Doering, Mary (eds.). Clothing and Fashion: American Fashion from Head to Toe. Vol. 2. ABC-CLIO. pp. 211–212. ISBN 978-1-61069-310-3.
  2. ^ Falls, Susan; Smith, Jessica R. (2020). Overshot: The Political Aesthetics of Woven Textiles from the Antebellum South and Beyond. University of Georgia Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-8203-5772-0.
  3. ^ Staples, Kathleen A.; Shaw, Madelyn C. (2013). Clothing Through American History: The British Colonial Era. ABC-CLIO. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-313-08460-7.
  4. ^ a b "Spinning in Colonial America". Historic Hudson Valley. March 11, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Keegan, Tracy A. (1996). "Flaxen fantasy: the history of linen". Colonial Homes. 22 (4): 62+. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  6. ^ Smith, Merril D. (2015). The World of the American Revolution: A Daily Life Encyclopedia [2 volumes]: A Daily Life Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 267. ISBN 978-1-4408-3028-0.
  7. ^ Pierpaoli, Paul G., Jr. (2018). "Women". In Tucker, Spencer C. (ed.). American Revolution: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. Vol. 4. ABC-CLIO. p. 1596. ISBN 978-1-85109-744-9.

Further readingEdit