Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Video: Boston by Streetcar, c1903

Friday, February 5, 2016

Isabella reporting,

Some of our most popular Friday Videos have featured turn-of-the-20th-century cities captured by early outdoor cameramen, usually from a streetcar. Here is Paris, and here's New York (in a blizzard) - and now we have these street scenes of Boston, c1903.

For those familiar with the city, this short film includes views of North Station, South Station, Atlantic Avenue, Copley Square, and Huntingdon Avenue. It's also a chronicle of urban transportation: while most people are traveling by foot, there are plenty of horse-drawn vehicles as well as streetcars, plus the newer trolleys and elevated cars whose tunnels are seen under construction.  It's also a time without crosswalks or traffic lights, with pedestrians jaywalking with bravado. I love seeing how formally everyone is dressed, too, with almost every man and woman wearing a hat. For more about the film, see this article by the New England Historical Society.

This video was shared with me almost simultaneously by two of the blog's New England friends, Kimberly Alexander and Andrea Cawelti. Thank you both!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Hairdresser, 1827

Thursday, February 4, 2016
Loretta reports:

The Book of English Trades was a guide aimed mainly at a young audience, explaining what people did and what they were paid. It continued to appear, year after year, and you can find it online in many editions. The clippings here are from the 1827 edition.

You can read the full entry online beginning here.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Men in Kilts in Paris, 1815

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Isabella reporting,

Some things never change. While there can be no doubt as to the courage shown by Highlanders in battle over the centuries, the fascination with what they're wearing (or not) beneath their kilts appears to be at least two hundred years old, if this this print is any indication. (As always, please click on the image to enlarge.)

In October, 1815, when this print was made, the Treaty of Paris that ended the Napoleonic Wars had yet to be signed, but Paris and much of France was already occupied by soldiers from the Coalition countries that had defeated Napoleon. Among these countries was Great Britain, who contributed soldiers from Ireland, Wales, and Scotland as well as England.

Apparently the Highlanders shown here were among those soldiers occupying Paris. Strolling together through a park, they've paused to buy fruit from a vendor. As they bend down to complete their purchase, the two fashionably dressed women behind them are making not-so-subtle excuses to bend over themselves - one to retrieve the child's toy, the other to adjust the laces on her shoe - and thereby gain a, ahem, better view. The print's title, Le Prétexte, (The Pretense) says it all, doesn't it?

A small observation: while it's difficult to identify the gender of children in this era since both small boys and girls were dressed in much the same garments, I'm guessing that the toddler in the print, right, is male since he's playing with a ball, and not a doll, and the ribbon sash is red, a masculine color for the time. If you look closely, you'll see that beneath the child's gown he is is wearing gathered pantalettes, intended to keep him decent while he plays. The pantalettes appear to be plaid, much like the tartan of the soldiers' kilts. Hmm....

Above: Le Prétexte  published by Aaron Martinet, Paris, October, 1815. The British Museum.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fashions for February 1812

Monday, February 1, 2016
Ball Dress February 1812
Loretta reports:

Though I took a detour to 1836 for last month's fashion plate, in order to illustrate my latest book, I’m hoping this year to show you the evolution of style, decade by decade. Of course, if something irresistibly fabulous turns up in the “wrong” era, we’ll make another detour.

But today we’re looking at Regency—interpreting the term very narrowly this time as the period from 1811 to 1820, when the Prince of Wales became Prince Regent because the reigning monarch, King George III, was too ill to rule. (Social historians and others, however, tend to refer to a broader period, which Wikipedia concisely summarizes here, in the second paragraph.)
Walking Dress February 1812

These two dresses, though, fall smack dab into the Prince Regent’s time, with the classic vertical muslin styles we associate with Pride and Prejudice, and which happen to be illustrated in especially beautiful prints in Ackermann’s Repository.
Dress Description February 1812

I would call your attention to the description of the hat, which I would love to see in real life.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Breakfast Links: Week of January 25, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016
Breakfast Links are served - our weekly round-up of fav links to other web sites, articles, blogs, and images via Twitter.
• Intriguing book digitalized for online reading: Barrington's New London Spy for 1809, or, The Frauds of London Detected.
• Which came first: the product or the L'eggs?
• Smoking little Josiah: mandatory fumigating with brimstone against smallpox in 1775 Boston.
Amelia Earhart's cautiously optimistic advice to an aspiring female pilot in 1933.
• Looking closely at a young New York woman's early 19thc. diary.
Image: Another needlework pattern - for aprons or neckerchiefs - from the Lady's Magazine, 1786.
• Posthumous portraiture in 19thc. America.
• The unexpected beauty to be found in America's last surviving textile mills.
• Remains of an early African-American burial ground discovered in NYC beneath a Harlem bus station.
• Lustful looks: signs of venery in John Ward's 17thc diaries.
Image: The Swell's Night Guide to the Bowers of Venus.
• Brighten up a dull winter day by carrying a little bouquet of bright flowers in this 19thc silver holder.
• Mr. A. Watkins and the touring bee van.
• Why (and how) does an 18thc fictional character have a grave in the cemetery of NYC's Trinity Church?
• Ranch dressing: what to wear to a dude ranch in the 1930s.
Image: Tudor rose, Canterbury Cathedral.
• A mysterious ritual burial for two horses killed serving in the War of 1812.
• The arches of Madison Square Park in New York.
• Paper dolls and ready-to-wear brought flapper fashions to the masses in the 1920s.
Monsters and moral panic in 18th-19thc London.
• The kitchen is the heart of the home: why these two slave cabins matter.
Image: When you want to fight, but your horses just want to hug it out.
• Life in the King's Bench Prison.
• What they left behind: things people keep to remember their deceased loved ones.
• Somewhere between history and style: the eccentric beauty of Malplaquet House.
• Just for fun: "When you're rich, and when you're poor" from Mad Magazine, 1977, and still too true.
Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls for fresh updates daily.
Above: At Breakfast by Laurits Andersen Ring. Private collection.
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