Samuel Adams’s Mother Was a Fifield

Back in the early aughts, I was a Collection Care Specialist in Textiles and Fashion Arts (TFA) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I was working on a National Endowment for the Arts grant to photograph and perform condition … Continue reading

Thomas Bewick, Newcastle Wood Engraver (1753-1828)

In digging through the British Museum online collection database this week for a project, I tripped over the wood engravings of Thomas Bewick (1753-1828). Operating mostly in Newcastle for his entire career, Bewick’s rural upbringing led to an interest in … Continue reading

Death By Green: Arsenic Poisoning

The Bata Shoe Museum’s current exhibition Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century exposes the dangers in the manufacture and wearing of many fashion trends of the past. One trend, a beautiful green dye used in the … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday – B&O Centenary Pageant, 1927

Ladies in nymph-like attire twirling and leaping through fields – sounds like the turn of the century pageantry movement to me. The Centenary Pageant in 1927 for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is a rather late occurrence of this type … Continue reading

Photo: Hunting Dog Redux, c. 1923.

My Harford County, Maryland family could never be described as prominent. They are not historical figures. Certainly, the family names are ones the people know, interwoven through local people’s memories (read about how interwoven my family is here). They, like so … 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

Catering to Clients in an 18th Century Philadelphia Shop

I spent July at a Research Fellowship at Winterthur Museum, Library, and Garden. This mainly meant identifying manuscripts and object collections that might have something to tell me about my research topic: working women’s dress, as illuminated through the study … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday – Take the Underground to a Costume Exhibition, 1922

This 1922 exhibition at the London Museum combines some favs for me: dress and transit. During a transformative era of rapidly shifting hemlines, silhouettes, and haircuts, a look back to 1850s fashion – worn by an era of women known … Continue reading