What this embroidered shawl reveals about Victorian-era romance

What this embroidered shawl reveals about Victorian-era romance

This story of Amanda Degall and Matthew Rodgers is a fitting one for Valentine’s Day. In 1835, Amanda Degall (1819-1899) embroidered the lines: “And when those hands / that marked these lines / in death’s cold grasp shall be / by all you love in Earth or Heaven / Will you remember me?” It was …

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Hires Root Beer: Sweet recipe keep profits pouring in

Hires Root Beer: Sweet recipe keep profits pouring in

“A pure food temperance drink that satisfies every thirst, revives the appetite, creates nerve force – prepares you for the daily task…” It’s hard to believe that this quote from a Victorian trading card is actually in reference to one of the first commercially-produced soft drinks, Hires Root Beer. Originally known as Hires Herb Tea …

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Curator inspired by whimsical work of art

Curator inspired by whimsical work of art

John Scholl constructed this wood and wire sculpture, titled “Fountain with Peacocks,” around the year 1900. Standing more than 6 feet tall, the work of art depicts two peacocks seated on the edge of a fountain. The fountain is perched on top of a delicate, colorful base adorned with wooden beads. The peacocks are joined …

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In her shoes: How hiding her ankles led to more colorful expression

In her shoes: How hiding her ankles led to more colorful expression

During the mid-19th century, ladies’ style of dress began to change. Hoop skirts replaced the layered petticoats of previous years, allowing a woman to still fill out her full skirt but be much cooler and less weighted down with material. However, the new skirts posed a problem for the modest Victorian woman: should there be …

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Little George’s dress: Highly fashionable and gender neutral

Little George’s dress: Highly fashionable and gender neutral

  This adorable pink and white cotton-print dress would have been perfect for a little girl, with one exception…it was worn by a boy. The little boy was George Munroe Gleim of Lancaster, who was born in 1859. Little George was highly fashionable during his time. Gender-specific colors and styles did not yet exist culturally. …

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Victorian-era accessories: Fashion statements peppered in beads and embroidery

Victorian-era accessories: Fashion statements peppered in beads and embroidery

The dawn of a new year serves as a time for celebration and an opportunity to reflect on the past. This New Year’s Eve, imagine what it would have been like to welcome a new beginning during the Victorian era. For one thing, women didn’t have purses at the end of the 18th century. They …

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Happy Holidays! Did you know that your Christmas tree has Victorian-era roots?

Happy Holidays! Did you know that your Christmas tree has Victorian-era roots?

  Many of the American Christmas traditions that we enjoy today originated in Germany and were popularized in England in the 1840s by Queen Victoria and her German-born husband, Prince Albert. An engraving of the royal family celebrating Christmas around a brightly decorated tree was published worldwide in 1848, and soon Americans eager to emulate British …

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Macabre jewelry rooted in human hair

Macabre jewelry rooted in human hair

  This week’s Pennsylvania Treasure is a collection of jewelry made from human hair. While we might consider it macabre today, the wearing of hair jewelry in Victorian society was accepted and embraced as a physical reminder of death. Museum collections today contain necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, lockets, brooches and even wreaths. The use of …

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Philadelphia-made banjo plays into Pennsylvania history

Philadelphia-made banjo plays into Pennsylvania history

    From plantations to coal mines, from Broadway to Victorian parlors, in churches and taverns, the banjo has been a part of the American landscape since the 18th century.  The stringed instrument has shaped all kinds of musical styles and crossed racial, cultural and social boundaries. This week’s feature is a S.S. Stewart, five-string …

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