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

Transportation Tuesday: Two Loves Collide – Historic Preservation, Transportation, and the Susquehanna River Bridge

Sorry for the pun. Since I was a little girl, driving into Havre de Grace meant curving around the high stone embankment to the right and passing under the hulking iron bridge that carries the Pennsylvania Railroad over the Susquehanna: … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: Rail – Stories of Our Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

Call me a dreamer. A romantic. Impractical. Head in the clouds. One of those city folk (that’s hilarious, you should see where I grew up). Trains will become more important, even necessary, in the near future for transportation. I recently … Continue reading

Halloween Comes to Downton Abbey

I predicted in this post from April that people would be hot to trot for Downton Abbey influenced costumes this Halloween. True to form, a lot of readers have been finding my blog by searching on “downton abbey halloween costumes.” I’m … Continue reading

Arts and Crafts Hors d’Oeurves – Meta Givens’s Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking

Get a sharp knife, some scissors, and good luck. I remember the first time I opened Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook.  I laughed out loud – it was a guide to preciousness and I found the intricate directions hilarious. But … Continue reading

What I Ate: Germany

It’s not all sauerbraten and rouladen. I was pleasantly surprised by incredible salads, grilled fish, and lots of mushrooms while in Germany. Let’s start with breakfast. I love European hotel breakfast (most of them). Most decent hotels have a pretty … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday: A Moment on the Baltimore and Ohio

I was inspired by this salted paper print from the 1850s of people posing for a photograph on a Baltimore and Ohio engine. I thought about the women in their stays and hoops, and wondered if they were boosted up … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Online Patterns of Eighteenth Century Garments from LACMA’s Collection

Speaking as a museum professional and a living history practitioner, what a great project. At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s web page, conservators and curators worked with Thomas John Bernard, a theatrical designer, to create gridded patterns of … Continue reading

Geisha and Maiko – Japanese Classical Dance

I used to be involved in a Japanese dance troupe in New York city. Most people aren’t familiar with the dance style, and describing it as akin to kabuki still drew blank looks. Within the dance, there is a correct … Continue reading

Light Me Up – The First Electric Street Lamp

One of the unexpected gems is the artistic and scientific wonderment that is the first electric street lamp, invented by Charles F. Brush of Cleveland, Ohio, in 1879. You can see it today in Public Square. Heady with Victorian ornament, … Continue reading