Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Committee Member

Carter L. Hudgins, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Katherine Saunders Pemberton

Committee Member

Elizabeth Garrett Ryan


This thesis examines the contents of seventy-five entertaining rooms called eitherparlor or drawing room in a sample of fifty room-by-room probate inventories recordedin Charleston, South Carolina between 1728 and 1866. Analysis of these inventoriesrevealed that the usage of the term parlor declined in favor of the term drawing room inthe late eighteenth century until the former appears to have supplanted the term parlorabout 1810. Analysis of this sample of inventories also revealed that the furnishingsCharlestonians acquired to appoint their principal entertainment rooms shifted as thesocial activities staged in them changed. Eighteenth-century parlors tended to be multi-functional, sometimes containing beds and tables and implements necessary for diningand tea drinking. Nineteenth-century drawing rooms on the other hand more oftencontained musical instruments and other furnishings for active entertainment and onlyinfrequently dining equipag



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