What I’ve Been Reading: Buying Into A World of Goods by Ann Smart Martin

Read this great book on 18th century commerce in the backwoods of Virginia. Ann Smart Martin’s Buying into the World of Goods: Early Consumers in Backcountry Virginia is incredibly readable (and available on Kindle to boot! Or in full at … Continue reading

Things That Make Me Happy: Wood Graining Kit at Colonial Williamsburg

Grain painting was used to enrich lesser woods. In the absence of more elegant materials, American houses made extensive use of wood and stucco, costumed as mahoghany or granite. This assemblage over time of brushes, combs, stencils, and rollers documents … Continue reading

What’s Left Behind: A Harford County, Maryland Probate Inventory

Both of my great great great grandparents died in 1857, leaving my fifteen year old great great grandfather  (at right) an orphan. Interestingly, he never appears in the census until after his marriage in 1880 when he was nearly forty … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Researching Museum Collections for Living History Practitioners

I’m a Collections Manager in a large New York City institution. My first museum job was as a thirteen year old volunteer at a “living history” state park, Heritage Hill, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Living history generally denotes that the … Continue reading

Mid-Atlantic Material Culture: McKee Crab Baking Dishes

An orange not seen in nature. These 1950s McKee Glass Company “Glasbake” crab baking dishes were intended for deviled crab. Interestingly, in my go-to historic Maryland cookbook Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen, deviled crab is nothing more than crabmeat … Continue reading