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

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

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

Historic Philadelphia Mapping Resources

My research on indentured and enslaved servants’ lives has led me to mapping out their existence on historic maps of Philadelphia. I’m hoping to better understand their relation to the community, merchants, and manufacturers in their environment. I’ve found some … Continue reading

A Hankerin’ for Handkerchiefs

I’ve been studying the design and production of 18th century printed textiles as produced for the masses. Printed fabrics became increasingly popular throughout the 18th century, especially as technological advances in spinning, weaving, and printing gradually made printed cotton textiles … Continue reading

The Historic Fabric of Philadelphia: James E. Taylor’s Sketchbook

Using Winterthur’s online collections resources last night, I stumbled onto James E. Taylor’s sketchbook of historic buildings in Philadelphia. A newspaper illustrator, Taylor sketched historic buildings in Philadelphia’s Old City area in 1861, just before most of the structures in … Continue reading

Runaway Scavenger Hunt

In researching the lives of indentured and enslaved women during the 18th century, I’m trying to rebuild their communities, to better understand their lives. See my article ‘Had on When She Went Away . . .’: Expanding the Usefulness of Garment Data in American Runaway Advertisements 1750–90 … Continue reading

Following Eleanor Ferrell: A Runaway Indentured Servant

New: see the full article online here. If it doesn’t come up, go to the home page and search again. Abraham Emmit labeled her “an ill natured, scolding, cursing, swearing, thieving servant Woman. I’ve been following Eleanor Ferrell began during my … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Philadelphia

Philadelphia – it’s not all founding fathers and liberty bells. I went to Philly as an adult for the first time in 2008. Gilded Age progress hangs in the air, the 19th century railroad baron, the masonry curlicue. I find … Continue reading