Postpartum Depression and Witchcraft

If you have had a baby, you know the months afterward can be tough, and memorable. There are numerous explanations as to what lunacy gripped Salem Village (now Danvers) in 1692. Ergot poisoning. Adolescent girls seeking power. Class inequality. Disputes over … Continue reading

New Year’s Day – A Great Day to Run Away

Many of us choose some aspect of life to rejuvenate on the 1st of January. On a whim, I decided to reference my runaway servant research database to see how popular a day New Year’s Day was for running away. … Continue reading

Don’t Confuse Geisha and Courtesans (Oiran and Tayu)

It is apparent from my forays around Pinterest and the web that images of geisha and courtesans are often mislabeled. For those unfamiliar with subtleties in the styling and wear of kimono, obi, and traditional Japanese hairstyles, it can be … Continue reading

Infant Care 1762

Hello after a long pause! Many of my regular readers know we welcomed Mr. Spud in February and have been adjusting to being new parents. I’d like to ramp up with a bit more intermittent and shorter posts, as Mr. … Continue reading

The Still Room Takes a Break

We are preparing to welcome Spud in the next week or two, so The Still Room will be on intermittent break for the foreseeable future. Please check out some of my older posts by using the categories and tag cloud … Continue reading

Viennese Fashion, Winter c. 1910.

In my mind, the teens were among the most exciting in fashion, with inventive shapes, pattern, and a whole new silhouette in play. Renders all the black coat-wearing in Manhattan this time of year all the more hum-drum. … Continue reading

A Philadelphia Servant, 1787

  A pie lays broken in the street, a distraught servant teased by the chimney sweeps who caused her to drop it. She’s likely on her way back from the bakery to which her mistress sent the pie to be … Continue reading

Set Your Shift Sleeves in the Wrong Way? A Runaway Advertisement

Ever get that lovely hand-stitched shift near completion, and then realize: “Crap. I put the shift sleeves in the wrong way.” Out comes the seam ripper and it feels like your best-looking stitches ever are screaming as the blade slices … Continue reading

Oyster Shuckers

I used to hate oysters. Typically, tidewater Marylanders pat oysters in cracker meal, fry them, and if you need a condiment, slather on some tomato ketchup. Churches in the area used to have fried oyster and ham suppers, though the … Continue reading

Digging in the Archives: Philadelphia City Archives

Nothing like a little research day on my birthday. During my stay at Winterthur, I popped up to the Philadelphia City Archives. This is made super simple from Wilmington by taking SEPTA. The archives are located a block from 30th … Continue reading