Wednesday, April 1, 2015

More On-Line Resources: Daily Life

Title page to The Behavior Book by Eliza Leslie.
It's dangerous to go alone!  Take this.

Before the summer reenacting season starts, here are a few more favorite period resources.  I find reading original literature, periodicals, and manuals helpful in rounding out my persona: they help me find my 'voice' in terms of word usage and style, and provide topics of conversation, ideas for activities, and random minutiae that a nineteenth-century person would know. Answering unscripted questions in character gets easier with that background information.

For those not venturing into first person interpretation, the inclusion of authentic food, activities, music, etc., can still enhance one's impression.

My earlier entries in this series include period patterns for women's clothing, bonnet/hood patternsoriginal garments & material cultureschool books, and nineteenth-century music & literature.

For American Civil War Reenactors, the Library of Congress Civil War Collections have a wealth of photographs and other documents.

Manners and Etiquette
The Behavior Book: A Manual for Ladies (1853-4) by Eliza Leslie (This is probably my favorite period resource, not only for the breadth of information covered, but also for the entertaining tone.)
Hints on Etiquette and the Usages of Society (1843-4) by Charles William Day
The Illustrated Manners Book (1855)

Preparing Period Food
Also featuring some good information on dining practices and servants' roles
Cook Books of the 19th Century
Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project
Historic Food Fortnightly (cooking challenges across all eras: lots of inspiration served)
Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (linked right to the index)

Games and Activities
The American Girl's Book by Eliza Leslie (1857)
The Girl's Own Book by Lydia Maria Child (1833)
The Book of Parlour Games (1853)
Cassel's Book of In-Door Amusements (1882)
The Sociable; or One Thousand and One Home Amusements (1858)
The Play-ground; Or, Out-door Amusements for Boys (1866)
School and Parlor Tableaux (1883)

Household Tasks & Laundry
The American Family Encyclopedia (1857)
Household Work, Or, The Duties of Female Servants (1850)
The Domestic Service Guide to Housekeeping (1865)
The Laundry Maid: Her Duties and How to Perform Them (1877)

General Advice & Correspondence 
Letters to Country Girls by Jane Grey Swisshelm (1853)
Inquire within upon everything (1856)
The art of letter-writing, illustrated by examples from the best authors (1858)
The hand-book of letter-writing (1861)
The Young Lady's Friend (1838)

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