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)┬áin 1692. Ergot poisoning. Adolescent girls seeking power. Class inequality. Disputes over … Continue reading

18th Century Convicts Marched from Newgate to the Port

Convicts made up one of the significant immigrant populations to the American colonies in the eighteenth century. But try locating an image that says “convict” if you are preparing a presentation. This image from The Newgate Calendar, a tabloid-like publication … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: Transit Chic

Public transportation in the early 20th century captured our imagination. It was modern, new, a technological advance not just for those with money, but for the people. The most iconic and compelling images place us against our machinery. The dress … 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

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

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

I’d Prefer a Manhattan: Woodbury’s Facial Cocktail

An advertisement in the May 1942 issue of Ladies Home Companion (perhaps more popular than it’s sister Ladies Workplace Companion in that era) declares: “To Rate Romantic Dates… Try my Woodbury Facial Cocktail.” Vera Corey Henderson, Philly Deb, is shown … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: Crinolines and Omnibuses

It was the 1850s. Skirts were big. Transportation, not so much. Prior to elevated railways, streetcars, and subways, mass transit meant the omnibus, a horse-drawn wagon, often enclosed. Crinolines (hoop skirts) gave lampoonists of the mid-19th century ample tongue-wagging material. … Continue reading

Wildlife Sighting at Airport Restaurants

I had extra time to kill in the airport on Friday night. My flight fell right over the dinner hour and I’d had an early lunch. Airport offerings are hardly lauded (Food and Wine Magazine did do an article on … Continue reading