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Maryland at the Beginning
Next StudioEis needed muslins (a sort of mock-up) of all original garments to help them recreate the correct body shape for the mannequins.
Using the original garments could damage them, so we enlisted the help of Colleen Callahan of Costume and Textile Specialists, Inc. She created a muslin reproduction of the dress worn by Elizabeth and a shift that would have been worn underneath the original. The dress Colleen copied is simple, yet incredibly elegant with a long train and exquisite openwork and embroidery on the arms.
In the process of making the reproduction of Elizabeth's original gown, we learned some interesting details about her. Most published sources described her as very small. In our minds, this meant she was as short, somewhere around 4'11". In fact, her dress indicates that she was 5'3" or 5'4", not short at all for the period. The proportions of the dress attest to her very small frame. With a 28" rib cage and arms the size of a modern adolescent girl, Betsy was indeed petite in size though not in stature. Perhaps the most striking measurement revealed by the original gown was her overall bust size, a notable 35". Voluptuous is definitely an apt descriptor for Betsy.
The last step was choosing an image for the faces that seemed to best represent written descriptions. Elizabeth and her likeness are based on the Gilbert Stuart triple portrait and Dorcas Spear is modeled after a portrait by Robert Edge Pine. Here is a look at the earliest version of the Elizabeth mannequin. The final version will not be revealed until the exhibition opens, but here is a sneak peek.
Stay tuned for the next installment on these show-stopping mannequins!
Our Curatorial Department isn't the only part of MdHS making news this month. I'm very proud to announce that selections from our Paul Henderson Photograph Collection will soon be on view at City Hall!
The Henderson Photograph Collection:
|"Unidentified and untitled," Paul Henderson,|
Maryland Historical Society, HEN.01.09-23.
MdHS acquired Henderson's collection from the Baltimore City Life Museum (also known as the Peale Museum) when it closed its doors in 1997. The collection came to the Society unprocessed and with little useful description. In 2010, Towson University's Historic Preservation class began reprocessing and over the past three years interns, volunteers, and staff have worked to complete the project. The final phase of processing is to identify the people and places in Henderson's pictures.
The exhibit Paul Henderson: Baltimore's Civil Rights Era in Photographs, ca. 1940-1960 has been on display in the Hackerman gallery since February 2012. Originally intended as a temporary exhibit, its run was extended when the Education department began to integrate the photos into its Civil Rights programs and public interest in the collection grew stronger. The next phase of the exhibit is to send it traveling throughout the state where Marylanders can learn about this important and unparalleled visual record of African-American life in Baltimore during the Civil Rights era.
Baltimore's City Hall is located at 100 N. Holliday Street, Baltimore MD 21202.
Other March 2013 Events:
"These gems have life in them"
The Jewelry Collection at MdHS
|Bracelet, circa 1850-1865, probably Scottish, Maryland Historical Society, Gift of Ellen Channing Day Bonaparte, xx.5.276|
Examples from the collection will also be on view for that evening only.
Although we do not know who in Betsy's family owned this bracelet, it would have been the height of fashion in the 1850s and 1860s. When Queen Victoria purchased Balmoral Castle in 1848, proclaiming her love of the Scottish countryside, designers followed her cue and created Celtic-style jewelry like this example. The bracelet's charm holds a lock of blonde hair which may have belonged to donor Ellen Channing Day.
This event is part of the Francis Scott Key Lecture Series. Tickets are $40 per lecture, or $175 for the complete series (couples series for $300). See our website for more information and to register. Call 410-685-3750 Ext. 399.
Road to Emancipation:
Reflections on Slavery and Emancipation
|"Harriet Tubman," Maryland Historical Society, Z24-1136|
It took almost two years before slaves in Maryland were officially freed from bondage. The last years of the Civil War were an intense, distressing, and liberating time that we want to truly understand by walking in the footsteps of those who struggled each day to achieve the promise of freedom and the many roads they took to get there.
Reflection on Slavery and Emancipation is the first of a series of programs that will start us on this road. Please join historians Kate Larson, author of Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero, Steve Whitman, author of Challenging Slavery in Maryland and Antietam 1862: Gateway to Emancipation, and archivist Chris Haley, director of the Legacy of Slavery project at the Maryland State Archives.
Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers; visit our website to register or call 410-685-3750 Ext. 377.
This program is organized in partnership with Freedman and Southern Society Project at UMD College Park and the National Park Service - Hampton National Historic Site.
Like 'History Alive?' Share it With a Friend!I hope you're enjoying our monthly History Alive! E-newsletter. If you have a friend or family member who might enjoy receiving up-to-the-minute news and information about our events and exhibitions (and, of course, our trivia questions), simply send them this link: www.mdhs.org/signup
And they can sign up!
Speaking of Trivia...
Trivia Time!Congratulations are in order! We received many correct answers to last month's question. The Copycat Building has presided over the 1500 block of Guilford Avenue for over a century and has hosted a variety of tenants in its long life.
|The Copycat Building, courtesy David Belew|
Ready for this month's question?
Question: This German-immigrant decided to make a home for himself in Western Maryland when it was still wild frontier. Within three years of stepping on American soil, he was building a homestead on top of a cool Maryland spring. The house soon led to a trading post and by the 1770â€™s, what was once untamed frontier was a bustling town with more than a hundred dwellings. When he wasnâ€™t founding towns he was serving the Colony of Maryland, earlier in life as scout-captain in the French-Indian War and later as a delegate to the General Assembly. A staunch patriot, he was a major advocate of American Independence in the years leading up to the war. Unfortunately he would not live to see the Revolution. On November 6, 1775, he was struck dead by a wooden roof beam at a church construction site.
Name that Marylander!
Email us your answer, and best of luck!
And Now... A Word from our FriendsWe frequently partner with the folks at the National Park Service, the Star Spangled 200 Committee, and the Baltimore National Heritage Area, to name just a few. So to make sure you know all of their going's on, as well as ours, listed below is a 'thumbnail' list of their upcoming events.
We thank you, as always, for your support in making History come alive in Maryland!
Until next month,
President, The Maryland Historical Society