Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kristen: Charlton Park 2014

You are probably wondering how I can write a post about the Charlton Park reenactment, as I am currently residing in St. Maarten. Well, I was totally there. And while Ken Giorlando's post  was so informative, it left out my participation at the event. Luckily I was able to obtain the original photos and will share them along with what REALLY happened at Charlton Park...
***All Photographs by Ken***

July 19th, 1864

Dearest diary;

The events that have transpired over the past day have caused me to reflect. Our time on this earth is so precious, so deserving of note. I started my day well enough, with Father contacting a photographer in the early morning to have our likeness taken. The color of my blue silk dress appeared bright in the picture! I shall treasure it.

Father is firm in his belief that fresh air makes the body healthy, so we stayed outdoors in the morning. I played croquet and pushed the swings. The heat of the summer eventually brought us inside for a drink. My family observed my proper behavior, which is so uncharacteristic of my personality. Little did they know my plans for the day...

Our cook Agnes Candace prepared a lovely supper, though I showed a bit of my naughty side. I do have trouble controlling my hunger, a sign of gluttony according to Mother. It does not help that Candace's cooking is delightful, so that I cannot help but to eat every bite. After eating four cookies at the table, Mother called Candace to hide them from me. I followed the plate to the kitchen, where Candace caught me eating again! She promised not to tell Mother if I agreed to keep her greatest secret: her husband is a Union soldier!

After supper we sat quietly in the parlor. Father had mentioned a possible skirmish near the house, though he knew not when. We tried our best to stay calm, with Mother calling to me to find her a book. I handed her the volume closest to me, one that my sister had been most attentive to in the past few days. It was my good fortune that they did not glance behind my magazine, as I had smuggled a romance into the house for entertainment.
Oh dearest diary, I made the greatest error! In handing the book to my Mother, I unwittingly revealed my sister's great secret; during our visit this Christmas to Annapolis, my Aunt Sarah had given her a fashion magazine, Godey's Ladies' Book. I now understand my sister's recent longing for a silk ball gown and new bonnet. I tried to stop Mother from reading once I realized my mistake, but it was too late. They were most angry with her, citing The Mother's Book to punish her. My sister pretended to understand, but I could see the sadness in her eyes. I knew that I had to make peace with my sister!

Immediately after her lecture, we heard a commotion outdoors. We came to the window to see the fuss, but Father shooed us away. Union soldiers! In our town! My Father was certainly angry, as he is a great supporter of the Confederacy. In all of the excitement, I revealed to my sister my own great secret; I planned to impersonate a man to join the Union army, just like the character from my romance story! She looked away and laughed at my jest, a moment I will never forget. If only she had believed me!

Within an hour I found an old outfit of Father's and sneaked over to the camp. With my hair tucked away, the commanding office did not notice my feminine features. He gave me a uniform quickly, as he predicted a battle soon and he required more recruits. I felt so free in men's clothing, but I feared what Mother would say about my indecency! I stood in line with the troops, remembering the bravery of the heroine in my novel.

We marched to the battle, and at the crack of the guns I knew such fear. I had a little experience with a gun, so I was able to shoot a few rounds. When the confederates returned with a volley, I felt a ball hit my side. The romance novel did not prepare me for the pain! I bled onto the dirt, preparing for death. My neatly hidden hair fell out of its restraints, revealing my secret to the other troops. They immediately sent two men to find my family.

Mother and Father came at once to the battlefield, terrified after I had gone missing earlier in the day. My dearest Mother sobbed over my wound while the military doctor explained that it had passed through without major harm. I simply needed time to heal! Father was very embarrassed by my indiscretion, especially when our neighbors noticed my pain. I suspect that once my wounds heal, he will give me a whipping that I will never forget!

As I write this entry I am propped up in bed with bandages and tea. Dearest Candace keeps finding reasons to bring me hidden sweets, though I know not why. After all, I revealed her secret! Candace's husband was one of the men that informed Father of my wounded state, a great debt that Father repaid by allowing Candace to keep her position despite her Union loyalty. I suppose my folly did not harm her as much as I expected.

I am now growing weary from the excitement of this day, though I see Mother nodding off in the chair beside me. There is just enough candle for me to start my next adventure...

A very precious day indeed


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kristen: Archive of 19th century Ladies' Magazines

I'm one of those people who can spend hours reading just about anything. I'm not afraid to jump into a difficult text, especially magazines from the 19th century. I've noticed that educational institutions have access to a variety of magazines/periodicals, but never the same collections. It's quite frustrating when trying to find an answer or linking a motif across different magazines. So here it is, the source for most of my research. Click away my fellow reenactors!

But before you start...
It's best to know what you're looking for. If you just want to stare at the pictures, you might be overwhelmed by all of the material. I've tried to list the basic topics that the magazines cover, but it is definitely not everything. Also, if you're only interested in Godey's, it still might be useful to skim Der Bazar. It's surprising the little tidbits that cross over different magazines!

As much as people go on about how the computer is effectively wiping out social interaction, I'd like to add that it is also helping greatly with research. All of the links that I've listed allow free access to the text, a luxury for those of us unable to get to a library or buy an original. I've listed only the years that I could find or thought were useful for Civil War reenacting. Sometimes a link will lead only to a few months from that year; I hope to eventually complete the list.

Title: Godey's Ladies' Book
Author: Sarah Hale, Louis Godey
Published: 1830-1898
Location: Philadelphia, United States
Topics: Advertisements, Short stories, health remedies, recipes, fashion plates, crafts, patterns, poetry. This magazine is cited the most often for American Civil War reenactors, though it takes many of its plates from the European magazines.

1854                                  1859 Jan-JunJuly-Dec           1864
1855                                  1860                                     1865
1856                                  1861
1857 Jan-Jun, July-Dec        1862
1858 Jan-Jun, July-Dec        1863

Duke University
Title: Arthur's Home Magazine or Arthur's Illustrated Home Magazine, Arthur's Lady's Home Magazine, The Home Magazine, Ladies' Home Magazine, Lady's Home Magazine
Author: Timothy Shay Arthur, Arthur and Virginia Townsend
Published: 1852-1898
Location: Philadelphia, United States
Topics: Short stories, health remedies, recipes, fashion plates, crafts, patterns, poetry. You'll find many similarities between this magazine and Godey's.

1854           1859           1864 
1855           1860           1865 
1856           1861
1857           1862
1858           1863 

HCA Auctions

Title: Frank Leslie's Lady's Gazette
Author: Frank Leslie
Published: 1860-1863
Location: New York, United States
Topics: Literature, fashion engravings, crafts, patterns, comics. I could not find very much information about this particular version of Leslie's, though the two years could be helpful for research. Leslie has many newspapers out there, so this is just a snippet.


Title: Peterson's Magazine
Author: Charles Peterson
Published: 1842-1898
Location: Philadelphia, United States
Topics: Literature, fashion engravings, crafts, patterns, music. This is an amazing resource that is often overlooked. Notice how it mirrors the other magazines!

1855            1861
1856            1862
1857            1864
1858            1865

Title: The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine
Author: Samuel Beeton
Published: 1852-1879
Location: London, England
Topics: Literature, health advice, gardening, cooking. Less fashion advice in this source, but certainly helpful in regards to middle class life.


Google Books

Title: The What-not; or Ladies' Handy-Book
Author: Unknown
Published: 1859-1863
Location: London, England
Topics: Literature, health advice, gardening, fashion, crafts, patterns. I don't have much as much experience with this source, though it parallels Godey's. I will be using it in the future!


Google Books
Title: Les Modes Parisiennes IllustrĂ©es
Author: Aubert
Published: 1863-1865
Location: Paris, France
Topics: Literature, fashion engravings, crafts, patterns, just about everything. My French is a nonexistent, so using this has been somewhat difficult. Google translate has been extremely helpful!


Google Books

Title: La Mode IllustrĂ©e Journal de la Famille
Author: Firmin-Didot
Published: 1860-1948
Location: Paris, France
Topics: Literature, fashion engravings, crafts, patterns, music, again everything. Very similar to the other French magazines, which can be helpful when gathering documentation.


Google Books
Title: Le Moniteur de la Mode
Author: Adolphe Goubaud
Published: 1808-1892
Location: Paris, France
Topics: Literature, fashion engravings, crafts, patterns. There are less illustrations in this magazine, though by now I think I'm fluent enough in Google Translate to figure out the trends!

1855           1865

Ted Kaehler
Title: Der Bazar
Topics: Literature, fashion engravings, crafts, patterns, music. This is a very good archive, though I have yet to figure out the searching component. Plenty of illustrations that are the same as Godey's, though this magazine published them first! They are more clear to read.

1857         1862
1858         1864
1859         1865

In conclusion...
LOOK AT ALL THE SHINY THINGS! But realize that it doesn't include everything. This list is certainly not complete; as time goes on, different archives will upload more sources, perhaps finishing this list. I plan to keep updating if I notice a broken link as this will be my main research page.

While spending hours researching links and sources might not be the most sane way to spend an afternoon, I'm glad it's done. I hope this helps some of you newer reenactors, since it can be difficult to find exact sources when just starting. And you veterans...go dwell in the text for a bit. Who knows, you might find something old new! The most amazing part? Everything is free! Go spend your money on another rainbow snood! (Please don't)
Rainbow snoods are the leading cause of reenactor deaths

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kristen: Grand Case

No excursion to St. Maarten is complete without a trip over to the French side of the island. A group of us piled into the jeep/car/moped and took the windy mountain path to Grand Case. One of my coworkers who has vacationed on the island suggested the food in Grand Case as a "must do." Restaurants dotted the narrow street, each boasting a particular special on a sign. We decided on La Ville, and the group of us ambled into the tiny space.
Let me just that I was skeptical about the magical powers of French chefs. Honestly, Mexican food is my go-to for specialty foods; I'm fairly certain that no one on this planet can cook better rice than my Grandma. I've developed American taste too...a brat with caramelized onions is particularly tough to beat. Imagine my surprise when I had to "eat" my words. Seriously, the meal was entirely too delicious for my own good...
Amazing cauliflower soup appetizer
My fiancee's fish extravaganza 
My lamb cooked in goat cheese, honey, and rosemary
Chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream 
We took up most of the restaurant with our shenanigans...

I now completely understand why French chefs are magical. The food was matched so perfectly in taste, texture, temperature...I tasted layers of flavor, a depth that I don't often encounter in my meals. The excellent food was accompanied by good company, mainly my fiancee's medical school friends. I love how the conversation flows easily from pop culture to pseudopseudohypothyroidism. It's fun to hear a different perspective of life and its idiosyncrasies (as opposed to mine-glaring at teenagers while I frown most disapprovingly). With only a few weeks left of my vacation here, Grand Case was a treat.

...Well-fed and relaxed...


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Kristen: Happy Birthday America!

So I am proud to be an American. All of my family is too-even the Mexican side of my family is totally patriotic. As the grandchild of immigrants, I can say that the American Dream is really awesome and I love it. However, nothing prepared me for America's birthday in a foreign country...

No fireworks!? No flags?! No community gatherings!!!?! It was so hard not to run around screaming "America you're awesome" to the random people I saw. I suppose I should be expecting this, as I am in St. Maarten with people who really don't have any ties to the United States. A group of fellow Americans (and AUC students) decided to throw a late-night surprise pool party, but even that could not quench my American thirst. Finally, the decision was made...

Yes, that is McDonald's; there's only one two on the entire island. It was midnight and I ate a deliciously American treat. Somehow it tasted better than back home...different ingredients? That triple bacon cheeseburger, fries, and apple pie would normally get me sick back home. But today, it tasted like...



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kristen: A Classy Fundraiser

All sorts of wonderful things have happened since I've been on the island, and possibly my favorite has been the wine and cheese tasting hosted by my fiancee's fraternity that benefitted a charity organization (it was either for Safe Haven, HIV awareness, or puppies?). I made an extensive menu of foods that I did not photograph, including:

-Red chocolate velvet truffles
-Cheese pasta and veggie with basil bites
-Fresh homemade bread with honey
-Spicy cucumber slices
-Deviled eggs
-Cheesy bruschetta 

The food was demolished by the end of the night! We opened the refrigerator the next morning to eerily bare shelves! I wish I would have taken more pictures but I did so much running around during the day, so by nighttime I really just wanted to relax. Also, I ate waaaay too much cheese, as I usually do at these types of events.

I think I'm spending a bit too much time with all of this doctor folk! I've also started reading a few of my fiancee's books that I find just laying around the house, including pathology and his Step 1 study guide. Most of it is incomprehensible to me, though the pictures are disgustingly fascinating. I think I'll stick with my teaching!


On My Bookshelf: December

December has been a really rough month. Between what happened in Oxford (not far from where I live...) and just the general pandemic issues,...