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.

A Tip for Spring Cleaning – The Servant’s Directory, Improved, 1762

  For those of you who are scrubbing floors this weekend and taking down cobwebs from those hard to reach places, a morsel of knowledge from Hannah Glasse’s The Servants Directory, Improved, 1762: PART II. The House-Maid. Be up very early … Continue reading

Thoughts on the Winter Garden

I come from a gardening family, and at this time of year, I’m biding my time until garden season. My great grandfather was listed in the 1930 Census as “Superintendent” for an “Orchard Farm.” This was Mt. Pleasant Orchard on … Continue reading

Stack Lurker: Some Love for Libraries

In late 2009, I was on the dating circuit. Via Match.com and OKCupid, I was meeting a couple of new potential beaus each week. To one, I mentioned that I loved libraries and that I had just been in one … Continue reading

Wanderlust Wednesday: Balyeat’s Coffee Shop

Gas was 99 cents a gallon in the Midwest in May of 2005. Driving east across the Indiana state line, my friend Mrs. G and I entered Van Wert, Ohio. There, beckoning to us in hot neon: Balyeat’s Coffee Shop … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: The Train Station

Bumping around the Internet, I came upon this group of images of North American train stations. Some I recognized, while others were from towns I have never considered. As I looked at the first photos, more photos kept loading, until … Continue reading

Remedy for the Western Breakfast

I hate breakfast. Sweet, pasty, blech. This doesn’t mean I don’t like to eat when I first arise, because I do. Hating breakfast isn’t a recent phase; I’ve been rebelling against modern western breakfast fare since I was thirteen. Cereal … Continue reading

Living History: The Befuddlement of Historic Costuming

You may have been to Old Sturbridge Village, Colonial Williamsburg, or Plimouth Plantation. Staff at these sites use authentic costuming in order to educate the public about the past. Clothing is the first thing visitors notice; they know when they … Continue reading

It’s Friday! Do “The Baltimore”

While I think the city of Baltimore had little to do with inspiring the creation of this dance tune by Fred Rich and the Hotel Astor Orchestra, this 1928 ditty is well equipped to send us into the weekend. Click … Continue reading

Digging Up My Ancestors

Click here for the first post on the Cole Cemetery relocation. My mother and I were standing in the Target parking lot in Aberdeen one cool and sunny Saturday morning in April 2010. We weren’t there to shop for hair … Continue reading

Road Trip: Bad Art in Motels

On my 2005 Lincoln Highway trip, I was careful to photograph the art hanging in each of my motel rooms. Mrs. G and I tried to get the true flavor of the road by staying in locally owned motor courts. … Continue reading