Stripey Runaway Buys 10 Dozen Continental Buttons at a Vendue-Store in 1784

I was playing around on America’s Historical Newspapers, a digital subscription newspaper archive based on the American Antiquarian Society’s collection of historical newspapers. My mother’s family has been based in Harford County, Maryland for almost 400 years. A search on “Harford” often yields the quirky and interesting. Havre de Grace, the city at the transition between the Susquehanna and the Chesapeake Bay, was once called Harford Town.

I particularly liked Stephen Locket’s colorful “red and white striped silk jacket” and “blue and white striped cotton trousers.” Major Thomas Yates’s Vendue-Store was located in Frederick Street in Baltimore. Vendue-Stores hosted auctions for estates, land, and market goods, as well as sold sundries.

Stephen Locket’s purchase of 120 continental buttons makes one wonder as to his purpose. Are they for petty sutlery? His own use? Thoughts welcome, as this is not my area of expertise.

Maryland Journal, January 11, 1785. American Antiquarian Society.

Maryland Journal, January 11, 1785. American Antiquarian Society.


About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.

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