As Cool as a Cucumber: Meet Sarah Hagan!

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve met two of our three summer interns, and today I am delighted to introduce you to the third–Sarah Hagan! Sarah recently graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Theater. While at UofL, she worked in the Theatre Department’s scene shop and is proud of her carpentry experience! She has plans to return to graduate school, but for now is content to join us at Locust Grove!
Hi Sarah! Thanks for all your hard work!

Hi Sarah! Thanks for all your hard work!

What is your project here at Locust Grove?

I am doing the programming/ interpretive internship. I plan on doing my specialized tour on Dr. John Croghan. There are many areas I can touch on with him as the focus. Some are slavery, medicine, entrepreneurship, Locust Grove guest.

What is your favorite thing so far about working at Locust Grove? 
I don’t believe I have one favorite thing at Locust Grove. If I had to say something it would be the people. Everyone I have met so far are all nice intelligent people. I’m very comfortable here.
Do you have a favorite thing, fact, building, etc. yet? 
My favorite find/fact so far is finding the expression, “As cool as a cucumber” in the HLG letters about John. It’s the best!
What (if anything) do you enjoy about working at historic houses, history, etc.
I really enjoy all of the buildings. They all have so much weight to them. I enjoy being in the buildings because they have been standing for over 200 years. Even if we don’t have some of the rooms set up right, the people we talk about were still in that building!
What do you hope to learn? 
From this experience, besides Locust Grove’s story, I hope to learn about myself. I want to learn if this type of work is the work I want to do. Coming into I believe it is. So I hope to learn that is the case!
 Are there any events you’re looking forward to? 
I am looking forward to the hemp festival! I have always been a supporter of hemp as a crop for Kentucky. It has so many uses and Kentucky could always use the revenue! I’m really proud that I’m interning here while this big event is under works!
Thank you, Sarah! We’ll check in with you at the end  of the summer to find out if Dr. John really was “as cool as a cucumber!”
This Saturday is Independence Day, and as is our yearly tradition, Locust Grove will be FREE and open to the public all day long! Bring a picnic lunch, take a tour of the house with our docents and costumed interpreters, hear a reading of the Declaration of Independence and celebrate the holiday in colonial style! Our Summer Thursday event this week is Photography on the Grounds! Join us at 6:30 to take photos on the ground! Admission is free; no reservations necessary. And mark your calendars–the Hemp Festival is August 9! As always, a full calendar of events can be found here. We can’t wait to play with you all summer long!
With warmest summer regards,
Hannah

P.S. To receive updates on all the goings-on at Locust Grove, why not join our e-mailing list? Sign-up HERE to receive monthly updates! Or if you foresee numerous visits to Locust Grove in your future, why not become a member? Friends of Locust Grove receive free admission, invitations to members-only events, a 10% discount in the Museum Store, a copy of our quarterly newsletter, The Grove Gazette and much, much more! More information can be found HERE.

You can also follow Locust Grove on the web by subscribing to the blog on the right, and following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. (We’re everywhere!)

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Something New Every Day: Meet Bailey Mazik!

Well, my friends, summer is rolling merrily along, and with it comes another introduction to the second of our wonderful summer interns! Bailey Mazik is originally from Columbus, Ohio and is a self-proclaimed Buckeye with a Bachelor’s from Ohio State University in History of Art and Strategic Communication. She is a recent Master’s graduate from the University of Louisville in Critical & Curatorial Studies. She comes to Locust Grove with a desire to learn more about archiving and collection management, but when she’s not soaking up knowledge at Locust Grove, Bailey is trying out new restaurants, traveling or practicing yoga. Let’s see what she’ll be up to this summer!
Bailey at work in the office!

Bailey at work in the office!

How did you find out about Locust Grove? 
I first visited Locust Grove several months ago with one of my classes and was so excited when I was emailed the job posting for the summer internships! Currently, I’m actively job hunting and am open to moving almost anywhere in the country to work in a museum (preferably art museum but, again, I’m open).
What is your project here at Locust Grove?
 At LG I’m inventorying the outbuildings and condition reporting artifacts. So, I’m recording exactly what artifacts and objects are in which location and reporting its condition.
What is your favorite thing so far about working at Locust Grove? 
My favorite thing about Locust Grove so far is definitely the people: staff, volunteers, and visitors. There’s a really special, charming community that makes a good place truly great. I look forward to going into LG every day.
Do you have a favorite object yet? 
There are so many neat objects! I can’t pinpoint a favorite right now.
Here, Bailey is taking inventory in what is soon to be her favorite building, the dairy.

Here, Bailey is taking inventory in what is soon to be her favorite building, the dairy.

What do you enjoy about working at historic houses and museums?
You’re supposed to learn something new every day and I honestly do by working with historic homes/ museums. There are unfortunate problems with representation and interpretation in history but there’s a tremendous care and celebration of humanity, particularly in historic homes/ museums. Thus, I learn an incredible amount about all aspects of life, from many different points of view, that is useful today. I learn and grow personally but it’s also very exciting to be a small part of facilitating that learning for others.
Who’s your favorite Clark or Croghan? 
I think Lucy Clark Croghan is my favorite! It seems like she was an ambitious, caring woman who got stuff done, professionally and personally.
Are there any events you’re especially looking forward to?
The book sale! And the Butter! Cheese! event. But really, all the events sound super cool.
Thanks so much, Bailey! We’re glad you’re here with us, and we’ll check back in with you at the end of the summer to find out if you have discovered a favorite object.
As for the rest of you, don’t forget to stop by our Books, Collectibles, and Art Sale this Saturday and Sunday from 10-4:30pm, and the Summer Antiques Market on Sunday, also from 10-4:30pm. Admission to the Antiques Market is $8; Book Sale admission is free on Saturday. Due to these special events, Cultural Pass programs will not take place on Sunday–why not stop by on Monday for fun and games instead!
With my most sincere good wishes to you all,
Hannah

P.S. To receive updates on all the goings-on at Locust Grove, why not join our e-mailing list? Sign-up HERE to receive monthly updates! Or if you foresee numerous visits to Locust Grove in your future, why not become a member? Friends of Locust Grove receive free admission, invitations to members-only events, a 10% discount in the Museum Store, a copy of our quarterly newsletter, The Grove Gazette and much, much more! More information can be found HERE.

You can also follow Locust Grove on the web by subscribing to the blog on the right, and following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. (We’re everywhere!)

Here Comes the Bride: Ann Croghan’s Wedding Dress

Here at Locust Grove, we host dozens of weddings each year, but we are especially excited for the wedding being held on July 18 this summer. It’s a homegrown affair, as Ann Croghan, daughter of Lucy Clark Croghan and William Croghan, marries General Thomas Jesup at her family home in 1822. This reenactment will take the place of our ever-popular Jane Austen Festival, which is on a one year hiatus, but we are excited to share the joy of the day with visitors and friends alike! Guests are invited to dress in the attire of their favorite historical period, bring a picnic lunch, and join in all the merriment! More information on the event can be found here, but of course, we’ll be covering all the preparations for the festivities here on the blog!

To that end, I’d like to introduce you to two very important people.

Brandon and Hannah, our historical bride and groom!

Brandon and Hannah, our historical bride and groom!

Meet Brandon Vigliarolo and Hannah Stoppel, two of our costumed interpreters who have stepped into the shoes of Ann Croghan and Thomas Jesup. They have been working incredibly hard already to prepare for this momentous occasion, and it only seemed right to highlight all of their wonderful work, beginning with the simply beautiful wedding dress Hannah has created.

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Don’t worry Brandon, we’ll get to you and your fancy hat soon!

Hannah Stoppel has been interested in sewing from a young age. Growing up in Northern Michigan, she saw her grandmother, a quilter and “champion knitter” often and as Hannah says, “she was always making beautiful things. We all had quilts, sweaters, mittens that she had made. She even knit potholders out of cotton crochet thread and I will maintain to the ends of the earth that you will never find a better potholder anywhere […] When I was little, she taught me to hand sew. She didn’t sew clothing, but I was interested in garment making from the start, and she taught me what she knew.”

Hannah attended Michigan State University, where she majored in English and Creative Writing with a minor in Theatre. She moved from acting to the costuming department due to her growing interest in costume history, and starting her sophomore year, worked in the costume shop where she learned much of her sewing skills. She also learned wig-making, a trade she still practices for “her daily crust.” In Hannah’s words, “my very favorite thing about studying costumes was costume history. It fascinates me, the way it is a beautiful illustration of the world in fabric. Everything in fashion happens for a reason, even if that reason seems absurd to us looking back. Political, cultural and economic changes are all reflected in silhouette, fabric and embellishment, and like all history, one look only makes sense in the context of the looks that came before it.”

Volunteering as a costumed interpreter at Locust Grove was a natural progression for Hannah’s many skills and interests. She was “sucked to Locust Grove” when she and Brandon moved to Kentucky as she took a job at the Custom Wig Company, and attended last year’s Jane Austen Festival. Hannah and Brandon  “loved the house and the property from the moment we got there. We didn’t know anyone here except people we’d met at Locust Grove, we didn’t have anything to do. Basically, we were doomed from the start, and Costumed Interpreting was the perfect place for us.”

We’re so glad to have both of you! Now, to find out more about the wedding and of course, the dress!

What is the background behind Ann’s dress and weddings of the time period? 

Weddings were special and exciting of course, but they weren’t the insanity we think of today—no six months of planning, no bedazzled evening gowns, no diamond engagement ring, no two hundred guests. Most people, Thomas Jesup and Ann Croghan included, were married within a few months of their engagement. Most ordinary women would simply have worn their ‘best’ clothes. Wealthy women, like Ann Croghan, would have had a dress made for the occasion, but probably would have worn it after the wedding as well, instead of packing it away like we do today. White, silver and blue were fashionable colors for wedding dresses among the upper class. White was the most popular, but not yet the end-all-be-all wedding dress color.

The 1822 dress of Mrs. Peder Hjort of Denmark gave Hannah inspiration for Ann's dress.

The 1822 dress of Mrs. Peder Hjort of Denmark gave Hannah inspiration for Ann’s dress.

How did you go about researching and designing the dress?

I started by looking at as many wedding dresses from 1820-1822 as I could find. There aren’t a lot. Since wedding dresses were usually put into the bride’s normal wardrobe after the wedding, many women’s wedding gowns wore out like any other garment, and two hundred years is a long time for any gown to survive, especially one made of fine silk. I ended up using four actual wedding gowns as my inspiration, plus a few non-wedding dresses. My main inspiration came from Mrs. Peder Hjort’s wedding dress from 1822. All of the major details of the dress came from actual wedding gowns.

I was asked to portray Ann back in January, and I started collecting research then. In February, once I had found everything I wanted, I started sketching the design, mainly using Mrs. Hjort’s dress, but pulling in details I liked better from other gowns. When it came to the whole wedding outfit, I found fashion plates from Costume Parisien from the early ‘20s, and was able to pull together the rest of the outfit—most importantly the hairstyles and headdress, which instead of the bonnets fashionable earlier in the Regency, was a veil attached to a lacy base that fit around the elaborate hairdo.

Hannah's design for the dress

Hannah’s design for the dress

 

What kinds of materials did you use and where did you get them?

If we’re being honest, the Croghans were very wealthy, and Ann’s dress was probably silk. But I am not very wealthy, so mine is made of fine, sheer cotton. It’s a perfectly period material, but not necessarily what she would have worn. The dress has two layers. The inner layer is a very lightweight blue cotton from Mood Fabrics, the outer layer is sheer Swiss dot, which another interpreter, Melissa Alexander, had massive amounts of and was willing to sell me for very cheap, which was awesome, since I was already planning to use Swiss dot in order to have some extra textural interest. In the end, the most expensive part of the dress is probably the lace, which is a beautiful French cotton edging. You just can’t skimp on lace.

How long did it take to research, design, and make the dress?

Research and design was about two months, although it was a pretty on-and-off thing. I wasn’t sitting down for hours every night. The dress was entirely hand sewn, since we thought it would be interesting and fun to make the dress as it would have been made in 1822. It took 97 hours, and that’s only the hours I spent. I managed to bribe other people to help me with the construction, and I’d estimate they spent another 25 hours. So well over 100 hours all-together.

The partially finished bodice.

The partially finished bodice.

What was the best part about making the dress?

Well, altering a pattern that significantly and having it all come together without too many hitches is a really great feeling. In terms of the process though, what’s not to love about throwing a big tea party with tons of snacks, and having some of your favorite people come over and eat and chat while you con them into helping you sew this big insane project that you agreed to do?

What was your least favorite part of the project? 

I always budget time for a project carefully and give myself goals to reach every day. Thirteen handsewn pintucks were not kind to my hyper-organized schedule. I’m thrilled with how they look, though.

What do you want people to know about historical dressmaking?

When it comes to doing research: trust, but verify. Other people can be great sources of information, but you never know how good their research was, or where they might be making assumptions.

Also, I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of correct undergarments. No matter how beautifully constructed your outer garments are, nothing will ever look right without the right foundation. People who aren’t experts might not be able to put their finger on what’s wrong, but everything will look off. It makes an incredible difference.

In progress sleeve puffs!

In progress sleeve puffs!

How can people learn more about historical clothing?

As with all history, first-hand resources are always best—extant garments, magazines, paintings, drawings and other artifacts from the actual period. Many museums have their collections photographed and up online, but always take date ranges and ensembles with a pinch of salt.

There are lots of books that give an overview of fashion history, and these are a great starting resource, because how can you look at an extant garment and determine an approximate date without knowing the basic characteristics of an era? I really love my copy of the Smithsonian’s book Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style.

If you’re looking specifically for the Regency and/or early Romantic, the entire run of the magazine known as Ackermann’s Repository, which was published from 1809-1829 is online at archive.org. There are fashion plates with descriptions in each monthly issue, and often a more detailed article on current fashions of the day.

Sewing by hand!

Sewing by hand!

What are you looking forward to regarding the historical picnic? Namely, are you excited and why?

I love English Country Dancing, so I’m very excited for the ball, especially since I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had a chance to dance in a while! The Kentucky Shakespeare Co. are awesome, so seeing them read selections from one of my favorite authors will be a treat. I also can’t wait to see people’s costumes. I hope there are tons of different eras! Any day that I get to hang out in costume at Locust Grove is a good day!

Hannah in the finished gown1

Hannah in the finished gown!

Hannah, your work is beautiful, and we can’t wait to see it in person on July 18! You can find more on Hannah’s on blog here. Stop by again soon for more updates on wedding preparations!

Merrily yours,

Hannah Z.