Sunday, June 17, 2012

Trip to the Johnstown Flood Memorial

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went to the Johnstown Flood Memorial Park, which is about an hour from me. They had a big display on Victorian mourning rituals, which is a close second to my interest in women in Civil War arsenals. So I happily geeked out. Of course, many people lost their personal effects in the flood, as did businesses. So those with means to do so wore public mourning for loved ones. My guess is that mourning items were sent for from out of town.
From top to bottom: a hairwork pendant with locks of hair supposedly from Flood victims.
A mourning fan.

1880's mourning dress. Note the black velvet collar and cuffs.

Many households draped everything in crepe. It was believed that if one caught their reflection in a mirror while in mourning, they would be the next to die.

I freaking adore this picture of a widow. From roughly the 1860s. Relatively few widows were photographed in mourning, let alone with a veil over their faces.

Another nice mourning photo, probably late 1860's.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Essay: The Northern Homefront: A Quest to Understand

From A People's Contest at Penn State comes a very analytical essay about various groups (women, children, African Americans) on the Northern homefront, which has been getting considerably more attention of late. Working women are cited - in this case, seamstresses sewing for the army striking for better pay. I've come across one instance so far of that in the arsenals: in the fall of 1864, women struck at the Confederate States Laboratory in Richmond. They were fired and then replaced. This is a must-read, full of heavy-hitting authors in the field.