Dressing Miss Ann Croghan

We are fortunate to have many, many dedicated individuals researching, writing, baking, sewing, and making so that we can tell the stories of Locust Grove’s community. Our guest blogger today is Amy Liebert, Theatrical Director and Women’s Costuming Director for our First Person Interpreters program. Amy recently draped and consulted on a new dress for Heather, who interprets the role of Ann Croghan in our cast. Here’s a look at her process, and how our interpreters at Locust Grove use historical sources to create historically accurate, and ideally, character-driven clothing, to educate museum visitors on the year 1816.

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Dressing Miss Ann Croghan by Amy Liebert

Heather as Ann Croghan on the porch of Locust Grove

Heather as Ann Croghan on the porch of Locust Grove

Heather is 16 years old and she portrays Ann Croghan, daughter of William and Lucy Croghan who owned Locust Grove. Ann was born in 1797 and was 19 years old in 1816. Heather will hopefully portray Ann for some time to come.

Portrait of Ann Croghan Jesup

Portrait of Ann Croghan Jesup

This is a portrait which was painted of Ann after her 1822 marriage to Thomas Sidney Jesup. She is a brunette, wearing the color red.

We didn’t ask her to do this, but Heather actually started dying her hair, which is naturally dark blond, brown for this part. Talk about dedication! Her mother made her some false curls based on my post here, and modified this method of styling Heather’s hair.

I found the fabric for this dress on Fashion Fabrics Club, before Heather joined the cast. It reminded me of the fabric this dress from the DAR Fashionable Tyrant exhibit was made from. Since we ask that all fabric for this program be approved, I will often pick up approvable fabric when I find a good deal, and pass it on at cost to the ladies in the program.

Polka Dot printed dress, 1810-1815, from private collection

1810-1815 (Private Collection)

I draped the bodice for the dress on Heather and drew up instructions for the skirt. We chose a front opening dress so she would have an easier time getting dressed.

Heather as Ann Croghan wearing front opening dress

Heather’s grandmother Patsy actually did all of the construction on the garment with my instructions and consultation. She was a real champ about learning historic clothing construction techniques!

Heather wearing polka dot dress as seen from the back

Apparently, Patsy has come to really enjoy doing tucks.

Tucks at the hem of Heather's skirt

Here, you can see the tucks at the hem of Heather’s skirt.

Heather stuck with the red theme for her evening gown, which was made from some lovely red silk from 96 District Fabrics. I also draped the bodice for this on her, and helped fit all the tucks on the fashion fabric. Patsy handled all the major construction.

Bodice of red dress ins progress

Here she is in action with her ‘sister’, Eliza Croghan.

Heather as Ann Croghan and Emily as Eliza Croghan

Heather as Ann Croghan and Emily as Eliza Croghan

I may be biased, but I think they look pretty darn great!

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You can read more of Amy’s work on her blog, Places in Time. Look for Ann Croghan’s dress in action during Christmastide, 1816 on Saturday, December 8 from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm!

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We’re Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastide!

In December 1816, inventory records show that William Croghan purchased the following supplies for his household:
½ lb alspice
1 oz Thread
3 Pianno Strings
1 pair shoes
⅛ yds Levanture [Levantine?]
1 yd Riband
24 pains glass
4 pains glass
3 ¾ yds Blue Cloth
2 cuts Thread
2 doz Buttons
2 yds Linen
1 yd Flannel
1 lb Imperial Tea
2 Pitchers

His eldest son, Dr. John Croghan, is listed as ordering the following:
vest shape
1 ½ yds B. Cambric
2 skeins silk
1 doz moulds
paid Mrs Anderson for making vest shape
3 bowls
¼ lb Tea
1 qr. paper
½ yd Blk cambrick
½ qr. paper
2 yds Flannel
1 qr. paper
1 Loaf Sugar 8 Cherry
1 pair worsted
1 “ Lamb’s wool socks
½ quire Letter Paper
½ qr. common writing paper
½ qr. paper

Now, we have absolutely no evidence that any of this was going to be used in a holiday celebration like our own event, Christmastide. We don’t know if those two skeins of silk were a gift from John to one of his young sisters, or if William was planning on surprising Lucy with new glass windows. Three piano strings are certainly a part of regular piano maintenance and upkeep, and letter paper is a necessity when many of your friends and relations live miles away from Louisville.

What surprises do the gentlemen of the family have in store for the ladies?

It certainly is fun to imagine, however, that some of these purchases might turn into Christmas presents for the family’s end-of-year celebrations. In the early 19th century, Christmas looked a little different–Twelfth Night was the major seasonal holiday.  But a little after our interpretive time of 1816, many of the holiday traditions we know and love today came into being, such as “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (also known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”),  first published on December 23, 1823 in the Troy Sentinel in New York State. Gift-giving had long been a part of holiday celebrations, but was generally not reciprocal and involved the master and mistress of a house or family bestowing tokens on their children, servants, slaves, and others without expecting anything in return. However, we at Locust Grove encourage everyone to give gifts–especially those that can be purchased at our Holiday Book Sale and Period Craft Market! If you’re looking for pitchers like the ones William purchased or a pair of lamb’s wool socks, look no further! Here are our participating historic artisans whose wares will be for sale during Christmastide:

In the Visitors’ Center you can also shop in our Museum Store, where everything is 20% off through Sunday, December 4! Children can also learn about the history of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and make Christmas cards and pomander balls!

The ladies of the family will certainly have lots of tips for hosting a holiday party.

The ladies of the family will certainly have lots of tips for hosting a holiday party.

Once you venture out of the Visitors’ Center into the house, you’ll find members of the Croghan family and their friends engaged in all the bustle and activity of preparing for a holiday party. Perhaps you’ll encounter the ladies refreshing their curls while instructing younger members of the family on all the elements of being a good and gracious hostess. Maybe the gentlemen will deal you into a game of speculation or ask you which waistcoat is more appropriate for the occasion. There’s sure to be dancing and singing, as well as  conversations about all the events of the past year. No matter what time you arrive between 12pm and 7pm, you’re sure to find something to strike your historical fancy and draw you into the world of 1816. Christmastide festivities will run on Saturday, December 3, from 12-7pm. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children 6-12. Children under 6 will be free. Admission includes entrance to the Period Craft Market and the Holiday Book Sale. The Holiday Book Sale will continue on Sunday, December 4, from 10am-4:30pm with no admission charge.

Such silliness!

A lighthearted moment after last year’s Christmastide

We are so excited to welcome all of you back to Locust Grove this season! It is always a pleasure to have a cup of cheer with our friends and neighbors.

Warmly  yours,

Hannah

 

Market Fair Vendor Spotlight: Old Dominion Forge and J. Henderson Artifacts

The wood is chopped, the rat catcher is ready, and we’ve warned the neighbors we’ll be shooting off cannons–Market Fair preparations are underway! Today for our Vendor Spotlight, we’re talking to purveyors of tablewares–Kyle of Old Dominion Forge and Tracy and Jay of J. Henderson Artifacts. Read on to learn more about the manufacture of historic cutlery and the production of stoneware!

Here’s what Kyle of Old Dominion Forge has to say about his practice and his Market Fair experiences.

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Kyle at work in the forge. Photo courtesy of Old Dominion Forge. 

My main focus is in making cutlery; reproductions of the knives and swords that would have been used in colonial America. I got started making knives in the mid-90s, but had been working in the forge for several years before, making period fireplace tools, cooking utensils, and other colonial period ironwork. In addition to my blade work, I also offer reproduction and original colonial pewter, nicely scrimshawed powder horns made by my dad, and an ever-changing assortment of high quality, artisan made reproductions.

I’ve been to every Market Fair, except one. I think one of the best things about the Locust Grove Market Fair is the period feel of the event. The house and grounds make a great backdrop, and the high-quality and dedication of those attending make it one of the best. Setting up for an show such as the Market Fair can be a lot of work, but of course I enjoy seeing all my friends and also getting to talk customers about my work.

Seriously, keeping stocked is one of my greatest challenges. A tremendous number of hours goes into each project I make. It can take months to build enough to cover one show.

Some of the other events I can be found at include: Ft. DeChartres 18th century Market Fair, The Fair at New Boston, and the Fort Frederick Market Fair. Indoor shows include: Conner The Longrifles Antique Arms Show, The Contemporary Longrifle Association Annual Show, and the Kalamazoo Living History show.

Market Fair is an amazing gathering of some of the most talented artisans in the Midwest. The Fair pulls in some nationally known artists, several of who have been selected for Early American Life Magazine’s annual Directory of Traditional American Crafts. If its pottery, hand-weaving, fine furniture, ironwork, tinsmithing, leatherwork, etc. that you are looking for Market Fair has work from some of the best 18th century artisans in the country.

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Some of Kyle’s handiwork. Photo courtesy of Old Dominion Forge. 

For the next part of our table setting, we turn to Tracy and Jay of J. Henderson Artifacts in Southern Indiana.

j-henderson

J. Henderson is a popular staple of Market Fair.

We’ve been attending Market Fair for a while, and we’ve been established tradespeople since 1999. Jay and I both apprenticed at Dakota Stoneware in Bushnell, SD. Jay was there for about 8 years, me for 2, before we started our own business. Our specialty is wood-fired salt-glazed stoneware, in historical designs. We travel the eastern US to historic shows and sites, mainly in the spring and fall. Our home and studio are in south central Indiana.

We really enjoy Market Fair’s 18th century atmosphere, being part of a quality event, and getting to see all of our traveling friends before winter. It’s always a challenge being a self employed artist, and Market Fair has always been our last event of the year, a chance to catch up with some of our favorite people before we switch over to off-season mode.


We are so pleased to welcome Kyle, Tracy, and Jay back to Market Fair this year! Look for them October 29-30! It’ll be another wonderful year of fun and frolic.

Yours sincerely,

Hannah