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The adolescence of early modern girls is often seen through the lens of sexuality and the body. This paper looks instead at their teenage experiences of work, creating a category of troublesome or useful female apprentices to parallel the wayward or conscientious apprentice boys who feature so heavily in 16th and 17th century discourse. Using court records and petitions from London’s seventeenth-century female apprentices, it will consider the ways that urban girls fought and laboured their way through conflicts with parents and mistresses to the relative autonomy of adult life.

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