Spring Vacation Part 1: Colonial Williamsburg

Hey everybody! It's spring break and you know what that means. . . road trip!

To celebrate the peak of spring, Stephanie and I took a well awaited trip down to Colonial Williamsburg. When we arrived, we were met with what can only be described as a wall of pollen...I kid you not! Pollen was everywhere you looked. But that didn't stop us. Nope! We checked into our hotel, got dressed in our 18th century gowns, and went into the historic area to meet up with my friends Kelly and Emily for a picnic on the Palace Green.

Afterwards, we took a walk around Duke of Gloucester Street and visited the new and improved shops (Tarpley's and Greenhow), as well as check out the exhibits and programs. One Exhibit in particular was called "Revealing the Priceless: 40 years of African American Interpretation". 
Inside the Raleigh Tavern, the whole back room is displayed in a way that I'd highly recommend that you'd go see it for yourself to get the full effect. On a perso…

How To Build A Character With Little To No Documentation

For the past couple of weeks I have been preparing a new historical character for an upcoming event with Historic Annapolis in preparation for Maryland Day Weekend. This past Sunday I portrayed Catherine Futier, a local laundress in Annapolis during the 1760's. 

Of what information I could acquire, Catherine Futier was a free black woman and the only person in the black community documented to have a trade. While many trades peoples would advertise their services in the paper to gain new and occuring customers, Catherine chose not to advertise her services in the Maryland Gazette. Instead she got around by way of word of mouth - this not only benefited her by saving money (because printing would have been expensive during the time of the Stamp Act) but this was a good way of building a rapport with her customers. As a result, she did very well for herself and was able to rent a room and workspace at the Hogshead. Catherine also was also more than likely literate, as she needed to…

1790's Spring Tea

Hey everybody. Now that Spring has finally arrived, it's a perfect time to celebrate with the first tea of the spring season. 
This past Sunday, I attended my good friend Carolyn's 1790's themed tea party. I have never been to one hosted by The Modern Mantua Maker before, but I'm so glad I made it because it was so much fun. I particularly enjoyed how everything was set up: Food and libations in the dining room, card games in the smaller dining room, and a space for lounging /conversing in the living room; music by Bach, Vivaldi and Handel were playing in the background to give the ambiance of the time period... It was perfect. Plus, everyone present was gorgeously dressed out in the decade between 1790-1800. 

Emma and Chelsea in candid conversation 

Carol and Ginger donning their pink 1790 and 1800 variants

In preparation for this event, I made some changes to my green pierrot jacket and petticoat ensemble. When I previously wore this, the petticoat was double flounc…

Evolution of Black Fashion in the 18th Century

Recently, I came across this article that was floating around on Facebook called "An Indian Chintz Gown: Slavery and Fashion". It was an amazing story about a beautiful Chintz print gown that was stolen from a woman, and then turned around and was sold to 2 different slaves, one of which was George Washington's slave named Charlotte Judge (aka Ona Judge's sister-in law).

The original owner of the dress confronted the new owner Charlotte about the gown when she saw her wearing it in downtown Alexandria, and tried to get it back. Charlotte having paid for the gown fair and square, had augmented the gown the way she wanted it to look; she was a seamstress after all, and was not having any of this woman's lip. Some words were exchanged more than likely, and Charlotte was back on her way to do whatever she needed to do on her day off in Alexandria.

But looking closer into the narrative gave me a BIG insight not only to this remarkable woman as far as her tastes in fas…