Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Carol Engelhardt-herringer (Committee Co-chair), Edward Haas (Other), Paul Lockhart (Committee Co-chair), Noeleen Mcilvenna (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


This thesis provides an analysis of the lives of mid- to late-eighteenth century Royal Navy officers'wives and widows, including how they coped with the challenges of being separated from their husbands for extended periods of time. This separation forced them to accept additional financial and management responsibilities. By successfully managing these tasks, they proved that women were capable of managing money, purchasing property, rearing and educating children, working the patronage system, being political activists, dealing with bureaucracy, and networking. Shore wives performed these duties with the very real fear that their husbands might never come home alive. By taking up these burdens, the shore wives allowed their husbands to have successful careers and proved that women, seen by some as 'the weaker sex,' were more than capable.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of History

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

History Commons