Monday, December 11, 2017

Young Hannah Haines Diary: "I will never be vaccinated again" 1897-1912

Photo of the young diarist,  Hannah Wiswall Haines Webb  with her mother. Hannah was an only child, and was evidently doted on by parents and family alike.  

A recent donation to the Newmarket, NH Historical Society is the diary of young girl, Hannah Haines Webb (b. 1889), written sporadically in the 1890s through the early 1900s. In it, she worries about illness - measles, mumps, smallpox and whooping cough; the pain and recovery of inoculation, and the  death of her cat. Hannah also makes mention of a 'sleepover' and the several weddings she attended. To her diary, she divulged her savings in a tin box of $3.45 (which was separate from her bank account). Her diary opens around in the late 1890s and the last entry in her short diary was to record a wedding in 1912.
"Romeo was killed by a dog..." Diary entry, c. 1901-1902
"I will never be vaccinated again. I have two ugly scars on my left arm and always
will." March 3 1904, age 15. She was first vaccinated in 1901 at age 12.
This note was tucked away in the back pocket of the diary, with detailed descriptions of how to return it to its owner.
The diary is in the collection of the Newmarket Historical Society. The author thanks John Carmichael and the Board for permission to share the diary.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Historically Minded

Jeff and I gathered a short list of holiday items for the historically-minded shopper. This year, we are highlighting books by women authors and businesses owned and run by women.  Please note that we are patrons of these vendors and authors and accept no gifts or advertising.

American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking:

An Agreeable Tyrant, by Alden O’Brien, et al for the DAR:

I, Eliza Hamilton, by Susan Holloway Scott

The Turncoat (and other novels of the American Revolution), by Donna Thorland


Dames a la Mode: Dames a la Mode creates reproduction 18th and 19th Century jewelry, specializing in Georgian Collet Necklaces and Paste Jewelry.

Sign of the Gray Horse: Kimberly Walters sells reproduction and historically inspired jewelry for her four rescued and one adopted Colonial Williamsburg horse.

Burnley and Trowbridge: B & T Company specializes in historically accurate fabrics, notions, patterns, research material and related items.  Catering to Historic Sites, Museums, Educational Facilities, Re-enactors, Theater & Screen since 1982. 

Specialty Items

Marie Antoinette Street Wear, custom made contemporary clothing with an 18th century aesthetic.

Chawton House Mittens (pattern download)

HatsPeriod are makers of fine period style hats with a range of ladies millinery modelled from 18th, 19th and early 20th century designs, and for the gentlemen, smoking hats similar to those worn throughout the 19th and early 20th century. Hats from earlier periods can be made to special order.

Fashionable Frolick:

Sign of the Golden Scissors:

Friday, October 13, 2017

More Red Georgian Shoes

Red silk satin pumps, possibly worn in New Hampshire, c. 1780s
Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden, Colonial Dames, Portsmouth, New Hampshire 
These vibrant red pumps were probably made in London and are similar in style to shoes by London shoemakers, Chamberlain and Son, from the same time period. Red continued to be a popular color for women's shoes, even wedding shoes, throughout the 18th century. [1] Buckles were needed for fastening the lachets or straps.  They are lined with linen and feature the minute stitches at heel indicating the work of a skilled cordwainer. The shoes are on the large side and wide, indicating a custom or bespoke order. The architectonic, balanced color scheme and smooth surface is indicative of the Neoclassical influence, as women's shoes moved away from the heavy embroidery and richly decorated silk brocades found earlier in the 18th century, associated with the Rococo style. 

Unfortunately, both the maker and wearer are currently unknown. I will be discussing theses shoes and other Georgian, Regency and Victorian examples of footwear at the Moffatt-Ladd Harvesting History event, October 21.  (For information

1. I will discuss many examples of red Georgian shoes in my forthcoming book, "Georgian Shoe Stories from Early America" Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Textile Collages Take Center Stage in 'Encore Encapsulation' Installation by Lily Zane

“Everything a Circle” conveys the tedium and tiresome redundancy of woman’s handwork that so often adorns textiles throughout the ages — and how women enrich lives one small loop, stitch and quilt square at a time.
- Lily Zane
Textile artist and designer, Lily Zane, is a friend and colleague whose work never ceases to inspire me. She is taking part in New York Textile Month and has created “The Encore Encapsulations Interactive Exhibit” which “explores the relationship of artisanal textiles of past and present and our relationship to them. The intricate Encore Encapsulation textile collages are layered with an audio and visual component which demonstrate the ritual, functionality, adornment and our intimate relationship between what we own and what little we know about this stuff we call fabric. Our aim in examining the past and outlining the importance of the maker; we gain a greater understanding of the products we consume and live with and the importance of preserving our rich and diversified textile traditions and keeping them alive and vital.”

One of Lily’s collages which speaks to me and my love of textiles is entitled “A 
Woman’s Work is Never Done.”

 Check out Lily’s work September 26,27, 28 2017 @ Dave White Studio 873 Broadway Suite 605 / Dial 036 for entry NY, NY 10003

Click here for more images and exhibition details.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A 1925 Flapper-Style Wedding Dress; Worn in New Hampshire

Clare Hamel’s 1925 flapper-style wedding ensemble, included dress, hat, shoes and underslip, all of which have survived and are in the collection of the Newmarket Historical Society. The photograph shows the wedding party on Nichols Street, Newmarket, NH, with the smiling bride in her ensemble, holding an elaborate bouquet.

The tawny bronze silk dress is ornamented with gold-tone trims. The contrasting yellow cotton slip was worn beneath and must have created quite an effect, though hard to visualize today. The bride-to-be clearly selected the items for her ensemble with care and of the latest fashion.

Clare married Pierre Hamel at St. Mary Church, in Newmarket, New Hampshire on February 16th, 1925.

For more information on the collection, contact the

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Historicism in the Shoes of E.J. Costa & Sons, Paris

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has several pairs of superb E.J. Costa and Sons shoes in its rich collections. [1] Dating from the 1910s-1920s, each pair combines some of the best features of this snazzy, creative era of shoe design while reinterpreting the Georgian style.

The shoemakers were located in Paris, and as noted by Elizabeth Otis Williams in her 1907 “Sojourning Shopping and Studying in Paris: A Handbook Particularly for Women,” Costa and Sons were patronized by royalty 'and priced accordingly' with ‘good shoes made to order.’ They were in excellent company-- Williams only mentions Hellstern at the place Vendome, and Perchellet as quality shoemakers at that time.

This pair of c. 1918 silk brocade women’s pumps (above) features a pleasing pattern, high elegant Louis heel and pointed toe, styling them a delightful pair of Georgian Revival shoes.

Also from the late 1910s, these arresting yellow-gold, silk satin pumps would have captured looks on the street, theater or dance floor.

And, a third pair of Costa & Sons shoes – T-strap sandals from the 1920s. The uppers are of silk brocade. 

All three pairs make use of luxurious materials, brocaded silk, silk and silk satin, as well asa revived French of Louis heel, further reinforcing the inspiration of history in the design and style of footwear of the era.

1. LACMA collections: