Saturday, March 22, 2014

Around the Web: Fashion of the Forgotten: Researching the Dress of Indentured and Enslaved Women, 1750–90


An article on the Winterthur Museum blog talks about the dress of indentured and enslaved women. More photos and the article can be found here.

A runaway advertisement from The Pennsylvania Chronicle, 8 February 1768. Occasionally a woodcut of a woman or a fleeing figure was used to draw the reader’s attention to the advertisement. This woman is depicted wearing a cuffed gown, handkerchief around her neck, cap, trimmed hat and mitts, a garment rarely noted in runaway advertisements. Newspaper Collection, Serial & Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (v. 1248), United States of America. Photograph by Rebecca Fifield.

This pocket in the Winterthur collection (60.248) is printed with a pattern known as “shell.” Catherine Preden ran away from Newport, Delaware, on Sept. 24. 1757, wearing “a striped Calicoe Gown, with Shells.”

This petticoat suggests what Ann Dawson’s petticoat, with a printed-fabric border, looked like. Dawson was a runaway servant in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1765. This petticoat, made of plain-woven linen, has a five-inch border of fabric printed in blue with a resist method.  Museum purchase with funds provided in part by Mrs. Vietor, Mrs. Ruth Lord, and Mrs. Porter Schutt 1995.0028

Rebecca Fifield is a former Winterthur Research Fellow (July 2013). She also wrote “Had on When She Went Away: Expanding the Usefulness of Garment Data in American Runaway Advertisements 1750–1790 through Database Analysis,”Textile History, 42, 1 (May 2011).

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