Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, encouraging participation, and networking.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Costumed History Interpreters - where the costumes come from.

Those of you who know me personally know that I am a tour guide at two historic houses, James and Ann Whitall House at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park (for 3 years) and the Indian King Tavern (just started this summer.)  Also, I work for a couple of groups doing presentations at schools and other venues.  Most recently, I did presentations on Colonial Living at a school in Cherry Hill for Camden County Historical Society, and a presentation in honor of Thanksgiving for Atco Senior Citizen Center.  For all of these kinds of activities, of course, you need period appropriate apparel. 

My first outfit, a shift, bodice, apron and petticoat, was hand sewn by me, both to see what it felt like to make a full set of clothes by hand, and also because my sewing maching broke!  My second and more appropriate set of clothes, linen instead of homespun, for example, was purchased from Joseph Townsend Company.  Recently I ordered a pattern for a new costume from Smoke & Fire Company, 27 N. River Rd.,
Waterville, Ohio 43566-1449, 1-800-766-5334, e-mail:store@smoke-fire.com.

On Monday, November 29th, I'll be visiting well-known sutler, costume researcher and creator, and re-enactor, Sue Hueskin.  Sue is also the author and co-author of a couple of well known booklets on the subject of appropriate period clothing.  One that I really enjoy is called "Had On An Took With Her."
It is a compilation of descriptions of the clothing worn and taken by escaped indentured servants, slaves, and others who left their place of employment under less than desireable circumstances.  The descriptions of the clothes worn by the fugitives is enlightening, and the descriptions of the people often hilarious and amazing, such as the woman described as having"filed teeth."  You can get the book by contacting Sue Hueskin at 856-461-3369.  You can use that number to contact her to set up an appointment to buy ready made clothes, patterns, or other supplies as well, or to find out where she will be camping at an event with a sutler's tent. 

The history world has many overlaps.  I've seen Sue at re-enactments at Fort Mercer, Red Bank Battlefield, and at a meeting of the volunteers of the Griffith Morgan House in Pennsauken, NJ.  I'll be back to blog on what new holiday items I've been able to buy during my visit to Sue's place on Monday.

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