Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Book #1: To Net or Not to Net: Revisted

Title: To Net or Not to Net: Revisted
Author: Anna Worden Baursmith
Published: 2018 
Format: Downloadable PDF


Anna Worden Baursmith explores the many aspects of wearing a hair net. This includes materials used, construction, and context of wearing. She clearly states and uses her primary sources to breathe life into the 19th century images throughout the text. It would be prudent to call this the definitive source on all things net related, and one that every reenactor should study.

My Favorite Things:

Dictionary-Since I've not had a lot of experience with the "hair" side of reenacting, understanding the language is key to delving into the primary sources. While the words are familiar, her explanations are clear, and help me to better grasp the context of each piece.

Tons of Images-Wait 'til you see these. Seriously, there is an appendix of fashion plates with descriptions. And that's just a tidbit of the primary sources! There are oodles of CDVs to show what these nets look like in person. I'm a visual person, so her attempts to teach to my brain are very well received.

Ridiculous Bibliography-Why do I use the word "ridiculous"? Because it involves PAGES of sources. Primary documents. Links to sites that can help you expand your research. Essentially the blood, sweat, and tears of Anna Worden Baursmith committed to page. If you're not crying by the end of that beautifully formatted work, you're a monster go back and think about the dedication it takes to track down that many leads and then just give them to others in this book.

Notable Quotes:

"When I wrote “To Net or Not to Net” fifteen years ago it was the most in depth research I undertook to that point. Online research was in its youth. I was in my research infancy. Since that time, the information publicly available on the internet has compounded, while I have come to understand the depths of locally available materials far better." 

Excuse me? An update??? While I've not read the original, I was VERY impressed by the current edition, and have a lot of respect for a person who goes back to update research. It's all too easy to sit back and say "Welp, I'm done." Not Anna Worden Baursmith. Again, that's a true educator move.

"Hair nets were worn for both function and for fashion." 

Context is key, and she nails it. She's not just looking at the frilly side of history. She's clear that she wants the reader to be well-versed in all that is hairnet and holy by the end of the book. Praise be!

"Here are two examples of images I purchased thinking the women are wearing hair nets..."

You really need to buy the book to fully understand this line, so let me explain just a bit. She comments here on one of the pitfalls she encountered during her dive into history. Not only is she sharing all the RIGHT stuff, but she's walking you through the challenges you may face in your own research. Thank you!

Suggestions/Advice for Reading:

Can we have TWO Anna Worden Baursmiths? Maybe clone her so she can keep writing at a non-stop pace? I'm currently debating the ethics of such a decision...

Anna Worden Bauersmith - After a hail stormAnna Worden Bauersmith - After a hail storm

Seriously though, I loved this book! While it falls more under my "reference" category, it answers many of my questions without coming off as dry or boring. Her words are precise, the pictures relevant, and the sources lengthy. My suggestion for Anna is that she continues to write (clone or not), as her blog If I Had My Own Blue Box is awesome too.

If you're looking for a link to buy the book, click here. It is available as a downloadable file on Etsy for only $15, so you will instantly receive access to more research than you'll know what to do with. Give yourself time to read, maybe a pillow too because you'll fall asleep smiling next to the screen.

What, that doesn't happen to everyone

I hope this first post quenched your thirst for knowledge, and opened your mind just a bit. Happy reading fellow history lovers, and until next week!


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Kristen's Summer Reading Challenge

Oh no. Here I go again, doing a thing.

Summer Reading


As you probably already know, dear reader, I am a teacher. Teachers are blessed with so many things; smiling students, cheerful staff meetings, and the stray puddle of vomit at the end of the day. Summer vacation is that blissful time to get away from it all to preserve some semblance of sanity.


Teachers use the summer to refine lesson plans, design curriculum, plan new classroom setup, catch up on current teaching pedagogy, and set aside cash for those new books/carts/posters. While the day to day classroom teaching no longer exists, a sense of purpose certainly continues.

This summer, I would like to extend that learning time into my reenacting life. Sure, I read all the time. But it is usually for reference, and I hardly take many notes. Hence the beginning of an awesome summer reading challenge I have named...Kristen's Summer Reading Challenge. 

What is it?

Each week I will craft a blog post about a book that I've read, specifically one related to history. While many of these books will focus on the Civil War Civilian experience, I do enjoy Regency and Edwardian text. There's a good one about King Henry VIII too! I'm not limiting myself to a genre either, and I will gladly read fiction and non-fiction. 

Can I participate?

I would love to hear your thoughts about the books that I read, or recommendations for others like it. Maybe there's a line you just love, and have to share! While I don't have a specific "plan" for a group reading list, if enough people are interested, maybe we'll try in the fall?

To sum up...

Look for blog posts from me this summer. Read them. Enjoy them? And perhaps buy a book yourself and have a good summer!


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,...