Cloth and Costume 1750 to 1800 Cumberland County Pennsylvania
Tandy and Charles Hersh, Cumberland County Historical Society 1995
ISBN 0-9638923-2-0 $25.00 211 pages, Soft Cover
This book tells the story of how the people who settled in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania dressed and how they furnish their homes with textiles. Analysis of all 1,220 estate inventories filed in the county from 1750 to 1800, together with wills, deeds, administrative papers, tax lists, indictments, newspapers and manuscripts, give rich detail about the men’s and women’s clothing, bed “furniture” and table linen during these fifty years.
The terminology of the period is used for all textiles, weaving equipment, clothing and accessories. The contributions of fullers, dyers, tailors, mantua makers, hatters, stocking makers, tanners, breeches makers and shoemakers are described. Types and colors of cloth used for men’s coats, waistcoats and breeches and for women’s gowns and petticoats are identified. The appendices list over 100 named varieties of cloth found in inventories or stores.
Eighteenth century Cumberland County with thirty-five widespread townships and three towns is an exceptional context for analysis of the different ways material object were used in everyday life. Records of its storekeepers reveal how they functioned in colonial commerce and within the community. Household functions such as heating, cooking, eating and sleeping are used to compare simple farms with fashionable homes. “Wardrobes” of people in different situations are compared. Altogether this work provides an interesting portrayal of a substantial part of the structure of life in Cumberland County at a critical time in our nation’s history.
See our book review on the Gardner Digital Library.
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