Form and Content

In Colonial Living, author-illustrator Edwin Tunis describes the “small, common things of Colonial existence” in America: food, cookery, crafts, clothing, furniture, houses, travel, education, and the tools and technology that supported everyday life. The book is divided into three chapters. The first, “Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: The Beachheads,” describes in a few brief paragraphs the living conditions in each of the earliest settlements at St. Augustine, Roanoke, Jamestown, Plymouth, New Amsterdam, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, and New Sweden. The second chapter, “The Seventeenth Century,” describes aspects of life in that century as settlements multiplied in New England, New Netherland, and the Southern colonies. The third chapter, “The Eighteenth Century,” briefly considers Pennsylvania as a separate entity and then moves on to a lengthy discussion of life in the coastal colonies, essentially the rest of the country. The structure of the book is thus loosely chronological, progressing from the first settlements through the eighteenth century, although it is also geographical insofar as it expands outward from the beachheads with each chronological leap. Tunis’ illustrations are an important part of the book, and every page contains one or more fine black-and-white drawings, more than two hundred of them in total, captioned and closely keyed to the text.

Within the larger chronological and geographic framework, Tunis...

(The entire section is 582 words.)