Conflicting Ideologies of Catholic Service and Capitalism: An Archaeological Investigation of St. Mary's Hospital in Virginia City, Nevada
AdvisorCowie, Sarah E.
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This thesis describes the results of the 2012 excavation performed by the University of Nevada, Reno Field School in Historic Archaeology at the St. Mary's Hospital site, 26-ST-446, in Virginia City, Nevada. The excavation was performed in hopes of shedding light upon two of the site's historic occupation periods, including a Beer or Pleasure Garden and St. Mary's Hospital, which was administered by the Daughters of Charity. Attempts were made to locate features associated with the Beer or Pleasure Garden and to determine what kinds of activities took place at the Garden. The majority of the excavation was used to locate features and artifacts potentially associated with St. Mary's Hospital and to answer questions relating to the religions, classes, ethnicities, health care, and gendered behaviors found at the hospital. The St. Mary's Hospital period was also analyzed through a theoretical lens of ideology. Historical documentation and material evidence support the conclusion that the Daughters of Charity adhered to an ideology of Catholic service; it is likely that this ideology furthered the agenda of the Catholic Church, the main institution that controlled the Daughters mission in Virginia City. The documentary and archaeological records also show that the hospital's patients were affected by, and responded to, the ideology of the Daughters, who held positions of influence as the hospital's administration. There is also evidence to suggest that the Daughters' ideology of Catholic service was in tension with an ideology of capitalism that was an integral part of running the business of a hospital in the United States.