Saturday, August 1, 2015

Breakfast Links: Week of July 27, 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Fresh for your browsing pleasure! Our weekly round-up of fav links to other web sites, blogs, images, and articles via Twitter.
• The story of Spitalfields silk.
• An early Victorian dress, inside and out.
• In elegant penmanship: a merchant's 1763 accounting book of the sales of African men, women, and children in Philadelphia.
• Photographer Eugene Atget captured the now-lost streets of old Paris about to be swept away.
Flat roofs: 19thc. Italianate houses in upstate New York.
Bodysnatching in 1816: a bad year to be alive, or dead.
Image: One of Horace Walpole's "Gothic Lanthorns" from his house at Strawberry Hill.
• Seventeenth century women on horseback in art.
• The groaning Georgian dining table with the elaborate epergne at its center.
• Cracking open the history of fortune cookies.
• The Great New England Earthquake of 1663 came with a "roar like a great fire."
• Image: Mother of pearl fan, French, c.1895.
• Art and design meet in this "behind the seams" look at a 1918 dress by Lucile.
• The freaks and fascinations of 18thc. entertainment.
• Recreating 19thc. whitework embroidery.
• Who knew that Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown's School Days, also founded the idyllic town of Rugby, Tennessee, as a social experiment?
• The over-the-top coronation of George IV.
• Bigamy and bankruptcy: the unfortunate tale of 1750s Boston shopkeeper Henrietta Maria East Caine.
• Waiting for a summer promenade: eight of Britain's most historic surviving seaside piers.
Image: Startling remedy for hiccups from an 18thc. herbal.
• "Have I been poisoned?" Real questions asked of an oracle by ancient Greeks.
• Women hunting, shooting, & fowling across the centuries in art.
• How to shop like a fashionable Regency gentleman.
• Image: A 19thc cartoon of "indoor cycling" complete with cinemetograph and fan.
• "A recipe for a Pomander": excerpts from a 17thc perfume book.
• All that flitters: spectacular sparkling wallpaper from 1910.
• Thought-provoking piece about how American slavery is presented on plantation tours.
Image: Unabashedly unsubtle recruitment poster from WWI.
• Unfair sport: a brief history of Dickens-bashing.
• How Singer won the sewing machine war.
• Mass graves of Napoleon's soldiers recently found in Lithuania show that many died of disease and starvation, not battle.
• Manchester University launches largest-ever online collection of the work of Victorian author Elizabeth Gaskell.
Image: Just for fun: In 1951, Harlequin Books wasn't just publishing romances.
Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls for fresh updates daily.
Above: At Breakfast by Laurits Andersen Ring. Private collection.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Rerun: Leaving Work, 1895

Friday, July 31, 2015

Since everyone is in a rush to leave work on Friday afternoons in the summer, I thought I'd once again share this early silent video clip. 

Isabella reporting,

After posting the early film clip from 1896 of a snowball fightthe creation of the pioneering French film-maker Louis Lumière (1864-1948), I looked for more of his work to share here.

This short silent clip is known as Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon (La Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon), and it's exactly that. Using natural daylight, Lumière set his camera across the street from the exit of his family's factory at closing time and recorded the workers – mostly women, though there are a few men in top hats – leaving for the day, plus a single large, inquisitive dog. Lumière filmed the same scene three times, on three different days, which accounts for the varying light as well as other differences like the carriages that come through the gate.

While I love seeing the clothes worn by everyday working women (plus the hats!), this film is famous for another reason. It was one of ten short films shown together to an audience on December 28, 1895 at the Salon Indien du Grand Cafe on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris, making this the first public screening of films with an admission fee charged. Each film ran about 50 seconds, shown through a hand-cranked projector. And, as the old saying goes, the rest is history.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

True Love According to Helen Rowland

Thursday, July 30, 2015
La Câline
Loretta reports:

Helen Rowland (1875-1950)was called “America’s Bernard Shaw.” Unfortunately, not an awful lot is known about her, and I’ve turned up exactly two pictures (one only last night—to feature in a future post).

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any of her wit and wisdom.* This one, on love, is rather sweet, for her.

*Blog posts here, here, and here.
True Love

Page images from Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men: Being Encore Reflections of a Bachelor Girl (1922).

Illustration: "La Câline," from Gazette du bon ton (1922) [edited], courtesy Internet Archive.

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.

True Love

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What the Seamstresses Wore, c.1775

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Isabella reporting,

I'm visiting Colonial Williamsburg again this week, and of course I visited our friends in the Margaret Hunter millinery shop. In the past, I've shared different posts about what some of these shop's ladies were wearing (here's a mantua-maker's apprentice, a woman blacksmith, and a housewife), all dressed in replicas of 18thc clothing that was made by hand in the shop. Everything is cut, fitted, and stitched entirely by hand, using 18thc methods, and I'll be writing about more of their fashions in the next few posts.

This summer, the shop is blessed with a number of hardworking and gifted young interns to help not only with interpretations for visitors, but also contribute their stitching skills with a needle.

This would have been quite typical of an 18thc mantua-maker's (dressmaker's) shop. The shop's mistress of the trade, likely the owner, would be the one who designed and fitted the dresses, and interacted the most with customers. The more complicated work in creating the dresses would be done by the next level of skilled worker, the journey-women. Below them would be the apprentices, and at the bottom of the shop's hierarchy would be the seamstresses, women whose skills were usually limited to straight seams and "plain" stitching. As can be expected, there were more seamstresses than anything else, and they were the lowest on the pay scale, too. Georgian literature is filled with pitiful seamstresses who cannot make ends meet on their meager earnings, and too often meet with unhappy endings.

I can report,  however, that the intern/seamstresses in the Margaret Hunter shop are all prospering merrily, and all say they'll be very sorry to see their internships end. Here are two of them, dressed appropriately for their station and positions working in a fashionable shop around 1775.

On the left, above, is Maggie Roberts. She is wearing a jacket that laces up the front, and is made from a reproduction Dutch printed cotton. The jacket is worn with a tucker, a cotton kerchief, a ruffled cotton cap with a silk ribbon, a cotton apron over a linen petticoat, and a coral necklace. On the right is Peryn Westerhof Nyman, who is wearing a center-front closing English gown with her skirts looped up over her petticoat, a cotton apron, cap, and kerchief, and silk ribbon bows on her bodice and cap.
As you can see, above right, both young women are also wearing the period-correct underthings to give themselves the fashionable shape of the era. They're both wearing boned stays, plus bum rolls and extra petticoats to give them the stylish full, wide backsides. (Read more about 18thc bum rolls and false rumps here.)

And yes, these saucy seamstresses were turned out literally head to toe in their Georgian finery, lower left, and eager to show off their flirtatious clocked stockings. (There must have been some male apprentices nearby.) The pink-heeled mules were made by journey-woman Sarah Woodyard, while the the black shoes and the reproduction stockings are made by the company American Duchess.

Interested in becoming a mantua-maker's intern next summer? The Margaret Hunter shop begins accepting applications in late winter for the following summer. Follow them on Facebook for more information as it becomes available.

All photographs ©2015 by Susan Holloway Scott.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Early 1900s Lingerie Dress for Hot Summer Days

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Loretta reports:

It’s steamy weather in New England. Nowadays when temperatures soar, we shed layers of clothing. Depending on our age and fashion sense, we wear not only fewer clothes, but skimpier ones: short sleeves or no sleeves, short skirts, short shorts.

This was not the case in times past. An Edwardian lady would faint dead away if someone proposed she go out of her bedroom, let alone go out in public, with her limbs exposed. Same goes for her predecessors.

As Isabella/Susan has shown in dress posts here and here, the solution in the past was lighter weight, airier materials.
For the late Victorian and Edwardian eras and continuing into the 1920s, the solution was the lingerie dress. During a visit to the American Textile History Museum in Lowell Massachusetts for Astrida Schaeffer's talk, Mentioning Unmentionables, I took photos of this fine example of a lingerie dress from the museum's collection.

I’m posting the information card from the museum, but you can find out a great deal more about lingerie dresses from this post at On Pins and Needles, which includes some lovely illustrations.

A few more examples:
1913  here
1915  here

1917  here
The dress, dated 1904-07, is the gift of Michelle Whitlow. It belonged to the estate of her great grandmother, Miriam Olive Hill.

Please click on images to enlarge.
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