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.

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

What Urban Living Means to Your Refrigerator

I thought readers might enjoy a photograph of my refrigerator. You’ll notice it looks more like the one you had in college (except with more vegetables), than the “American-style” refrigerator you have now (that’s how they are known in Europe … Continue reading

Liquor Shopping in 18th Century New York

With all the cocktail goings-on currently, it’s worth a look back toward the 18th century processes being rediscovered and further riffed upon today. New York’s Vaux Hall Gardens were once located near Astor Place.   I did find this recipe … Continue reading

Hold the Tulle: I’m Anti-Princess

Manhattan is a special place, no doubt. I live on the Upper East Side in Yorkville, a formerly German and Czech community. I jokingly refer to the far east neighborhood as the “suburbs of Manhattan.” It’s not a scene. There … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: San Francisco

San Francisco is the city where I started to learn to look, compose, and photograph. I feel the town’s scruffiness when I’m there – I still think that the mother lode gold discovery is still expected any day. I suppose the … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday: Amtrak Fiction

I’ve been working on a short story for years about a friendship slipping into an unfamiliar place. One of these days I’ll fish it out of the muck. In my book (ha), trains are good places for writing, and good … Continue reading

Finally: Tomato Sandwich Time

Yesterday morning, I took advantage of Mr. V’s need for extra zzzs to get some early morning errands done. The Upper East Side has always been a bit barren when it comes to farmers markets. I’m fortunate that the very … Continue reading

Eadweard Muybridge – Gridded on my mind

I wrote those words “gridded on my mind” years ago in a short story, the protagonist describing herself as the antagonist’s Eadweard Muybridge, preserving him in her memory, serving as his stop-gap photographer. Eadweard Muybridge. Funny name. The sequences of … Continue reading

Martha Washington Sells

I was looking in the mirror, thinking my hair needed a little color. Here’s what I found in the Baltimore Sun, January 19, 1866 … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Hagerstown

Hagerstown? Where’s that? I recently attended a living history event at Fort Frederick State Park in Big Pool, Maryland. Restaurants are few and far between in western Maryland, but one of my favorites anywhere is the Schmankerl Stube in Hagerstown. … Continue reading