You have probably seen an enormous amount of corsetry imagery in your life. Whether it was the scene in Gone with the Wind where Mammy is lacing Scarlet into her corset as she holds onto the bedpost or a social media post about waist training using a modern piece of shapewear. Needless to say, you … Continue reading Stay Informed About Historical Undergarments
Fashion in History
Drawers, Knickers, or Pants: Why Do We Call Them That?
There truly is a National Day for absolutely everything and even a National Underwear Day! That’s right! Undergarments have their own appreciation day and, to be precise, it was August 5. At first glance, National Underwear Day may seem rather silly but actually we probably don’t give enough thought to the importance of underwear. Before … Continue reading Drawers, Knickers, or Pants: Why Do We Call Them That?
Summer Stinks!: The Odoriferous 18th Century
Editor’s Note: Looking back in time, people’s personal hygiene, fashion choices, medical treatments, and more sometimes look, at the very least, bizarre, if not outright disgusting. When confronted with these weird or gross practices, our first reaction can be to dismiss our ancestors as primitive, ignorant, or just silly. Before such judgments, however, we should try … Continue reading Summer Stinks!: The Odoriferous 18th Century
From Servants to Sovereigns, Lousy Hair Days (Part I)
When Mr. Gilchrist [the hairdresser] opened my aunt’s head, …its effluvias [bad odor] affected my sense of smelling disagreeably, which stench however, did not surprise me when I observed the great variety of materials employed in raising the dirty fabric. False locks to supply the great deficiency of native hair, pomatum with profusion, greasy wool … Continue reading From Servants to Sovereigns, Lousy Hair Days (Part I)
Getting “Judgy” With Colonial Revival Ceramics
Previously on Lives and Legacies, curator Meghan Budinger laid out a wonderful summary of the Colonial Revival movement. At no point did she weigh-in with her opinion of Colonial Revival and she should be applauded for her diplomacy. To be honest, though, many historians, material culture specialists, and decorative arts enthusiasts (among others) can get … Continue reading Getting “Judgy” With Colonial Revival Ceramics
How Many Curlers did a Harried Hairdresser Need? Let’s Do the Math!
After unearthing over 200 wig hair curlers from Washington’s Boyhood Home, we were in a position to do something that - to our knowledge - has never been done before: crossmend all those curler fragments. As a result, we can now predict the minimum number of curlers the Washington family’s harried hairdressers needed. If you … Continue reading How Many Curlers did a Harried Hairdresser Need? Let’s Do the Math!
Just What is Colonial Revival?
You’ve probably heard the phrase “colonial revival” before. Most people think of it as an architectural style –what they mean when they say “a colonial style house.” In actuality, the phrase refers to a whole cultural movement in the United States that had its beginnings in the late 19th century and that still exists today. … Continue reading Just What is Colonial Revival?
Dressing the Past: Costuming Challenges at Ferry Farm & Kenmore
We have been working tirelessly to improve the accuracy of the costumes that actors and staff wear when performing for or interacting with the public at Historic Kenmore and George Washington’s Ferry Farm. This is no easy task, but it improves the visitor experience and helps them better understand the Washington and the Lewis families … Continue reading Dressing the Past: Costuming Challenges at Ferry Farm & Kenmore
Paste Gems: It’s the Real Thing (Almost!)
The majority of what crosses my desk everyday as I catalog artifacts are items that would be difficult, if not impossible, to ascribe to any one person who lived on the land we call Ferry Farm. Architectural debris (brick, mortar, plaster, nails), food remains (oyster shell, animal and fish bones, eggshells (!)), broken household objects … Continue reading Paste Gems: It’s the Real Thing (Almost!)
Le Pouf: Sensational Hairstyle of the 18th Century
We’re pretty interested in 18th century hairstyles, wigs, and wig-styling here at George Washington’s Ferry Farm and Historic Kenmore. As evidence, check out our most viewed blog post. It's about wig styling. Our interest stems from the hundreds of wig curlers archaeologists have excavated during digs at Ferry Farm. While those wig curlers were used to style … Continue reading Le Pouf: Sensational Hairstyle of the 18th Century