From Cup to Curl: How to Get Fabulous Historical Hair Using Straws

Melanie:

One of my favorite bloggers, Liz, at The Pragmatic Costumer, has posted another fabulous installment about historic hairstyles. This time, the subject is all manner of curls:

Originally posted on The Pragmatic Costumer:

Big Hair was a Big Deal Long Before Dallas and Dolly Parton!

Those of you that browse my rambling frequently are well aware that I am hair illiterate. Indeed, I know next to nothing about taming my crispy, unruly mane. Yet, I am slowly teaching myself a few tricks here and there, and the internet has been a boon for my boring locks.

As a strong adherent to the old cliche that “every curly-haired girl wants straight hair and every straight-haired girl wants curls,” I have dreamed of lovely curls since childhood. When I was very young, my mother had tightly permed 1980s poodle hair (her words, not mine!), and I remember playing with her pink plastic hair pick, pretending I had a perm that needed fluffing, too. I am infinitely envious of those glamorous 1980s superstars like Bernadette Peters and Whitney Houston who had curls so luscious no scrunchie…

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Pioneer Girl is out!

Melanie:

Without further delay…PIONEER GIRL is here! (…and it’s Annotated…) Let the rousing discussions, debates, and reactions of knee-jerk-disbelief begin!

Originally posted on The Pioneer Girl Project:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThank you to everyone who pre-ordered Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography from the South Dakota Historical Society Press. We are glad to say that the books will be arriving on your doorsteps in the next few days.

On Friday, November 14, the long-awaited Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography made it safely to our warehouse. As pallets of boxes were brought off the semitrailer, sod-house-like structures began to form and Press staffers Lisa Nold and Rodger Hartley quickly lost their sense of time and place.

However, they soon gathered themselves in preparation for the big sendoff beginning DSCF0259November 17.  That Monday, as if jolly ol’ Saint Nick himself were looking over our shoulders, box upon box was packed with care to be sent off across North America. The project of packing pallets to be shipped to our national and international distributors and bookstores had also begun. Boxes were hauled from one…

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Slate reviews the long-awaited publication of Pioneer Girl.

In anticipation of the (Finally!) soon-to-be-released Pioneer Girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s circa 1928-30 memoir-cum-manuscript which became the basis for her “Little House” children’s series, Slate has offered the following glowing review of the long-awaited publication, edited and annotated by a team from South Dakota State Historical Society Press, spearheaded by recent Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill.

In 2010, Hill was a featured speaker at the first academic conference of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association (lovingly known as “LauraPalooza”: go to http://www.beyondlittlehouse.com for information about the upcoming conference in Brookings, South Dakota, July 2015). She is particularly known as the author of 2007’s insightful Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life. Hill has spent the last several years combing through archives and artifacts of various Wilder homesite museums, state archives, Wilder’s papers at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, and compiling some details from the research of a bevy of additional sources, including several independent researchers’ previous publications.

In addition, Hill is currently teaching the first-ever open-access online college course devoted solely to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Offered via Missouri State University and the Canvas Network, and entitled Laura Ingalls Wilder: Exploring her Work and Writing Life, the 8-week course was offered free of charge and attracted thousands of enrollees; it concludes 1 December 2014.

Pioneer Girl is currently available via pre-order from South Dakota State Historical Society Press (www.pioneergirlproject.org) and the various homesite museums devoted to preservation of Wilder’s legacy, including:

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Tourist Center, Walnut Grove, Minnesota:
(www.walnutgrove.org/store/
or call 888-528-7298)

and
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, De Smet, South Dakota: (www.discoverlaura.org).

I ask that, as fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder, you remember that where you make your purchase matters. Your purchase made directly through these museum and archive outlets will benefit the museums and archives most directly related to the Wilder legacy; purchases from the giant corporate behemoth retailers do not. So, if you want to make certain your purchase will benefit the places which protect the integrity, conservation, and very survival of the vast collections of Wilder papers and artifacts, please purchase directly from one of the Wilder homesites or the SDSHS Press.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2014/11/little_house_nonfiction_laura_ingalls_wilder_s_memoir_pioneer_girl_reviewed.2.html

Lovely Limbs: Modern Stockings with Historical Style

Melanie:

The Pragmatic Costumer has done it again! This time, Liz explores her love for centuries of embellished stockings…and I have a new favorite place to shop!

Originally posted on The Pragmatic Costumer:

Completely Hosed on Hose

Some women are obsessed with shoes. I love them, too, but my love affair with shoes is more practical than fantastical. My love of stockings, however, has grown exponentially over the years. Not only are they fun, they completely alter the way shoes fit. A shoe that is too big or even too small becomes much more comfortable with the right stocking. Keeping you warm as the weather turns chilly is a huge bonus as well.

Kittens and tea also help greatly.

When I talk about stockings, I don’t mean our modern idea of stockings– the sheer, skin tone nylons or the cutesy sock-shapes we hang up at Christmastime. Though they are both rooted in historical stockings, they are like the two seperated halves of the stocking story. Stockings in the past were knit or sewn, and while silk can be made very sheer, our ancestors…

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Discovering Almanzo Wilder: Rachel McMillan Guest Blogs

Melanie:

Newly-minted Laura fan Rachel McMillan guest posts on blog of longtime Laurati, Melanie J Fishbane. Obsession with the Manly One ensues:

Originally posted on Melanie J. Fishbane:

Rachel McMillan and I met through social media. We’ve travelled in the same circles for a number of years, but didn’t physically meet until this past summer when I finally was like, “Dude, you write, I write. We like the same things. We should have food and drink together”–although I probably didn’t use “dude” but I’m sure she would approve.

Since then we’ve explored Niagara on the Lake, Leaskdale, and Norval, and talked about Maud, Dean Priest, and–yes–Almanzo Wilder. Watching Rachel discuss re-reading the Little House series on Facebook and then falling in love with Almanzo Wilder was not only delightful, it also reminded me of my past posts on the subject and what I hope to discuss this summer in Laurapalooza (if they love my proposal enough and if the money all comes together.)

daisy and rachelRachel  works in Educational publishing in Toronto. She is an aspiring author and spends a lot of…

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A Puritan Hero

Melanie:

Just discovered this blog, courtesy of a share by my friend and Alcott scholar, Kristi Martin, who brought Amy Belding Brown to my attention with this link. Kristi and I both work in Concord and greatly admire what is known as Orchard House, the home built by the subject of this piece, John Hoar, and which would later be home to Louisa May Alcott as she penned Little Women.

I love antique houses, women’s history, and stories of rebellious colonists of New England in the days before notions of antidisestablishmentarianism took hold. This one combines them all!

Originally posted on Collisions:

Orchard House snowAbout a decade ago, I worked for a few years at the Orchard House Museum in Concord, Massachusetts.  Best known as the home of Louisa May Alcott and the place where she wrote the classic novel, Little Women, the house has an impressive history of its own.  When I was there the 300-year-old building, renovated by Bronson Alcott in the 1850’s, was in the midst of a massive preservation project, so I had the opportunity to see, up-close, some of the details of the colonial construction.  Ever since, I’ve been fascinated not just by how historical houses are decorated, but how they’re constructed.

At that time, I was finishing work on my novel, Mr. Emerson’s Wife, about the Transcendental circle in19th century Concord.  Little did I know that a few years later, I’d encounter the house again, as I researched a 17th-century Concord lawyer for my new novel,

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The Myth of a Myth: Brushing Your Hair 100 Times

Melanie:

This is my favorite entry of The Pragmatic Costumer. The writer, Liz, makes excellent points about how the modern brushes and shampoos/conditioners/styling products simply do not reflect historic methods, and marketing has actually changed how we style our hair over the decades.

I’ve had my own odyssey with hair care as I’ve aged, and always hated styling products. Transforming myself into a reasonable facsimile of a woman in the 1890s goes far beyond getting a great dressmaker. Grooming takes center stage, and is very different than most 21st century women would find comfortable. I make some small compromises, but endeavor to be as authentic as possible.

When I was in the early stages of planning my first-person presentations, Meet Laura Ingalls Wilder, I began growing my hair. I was putting together many necessary elements for a portrayal that was as close to accurate as possible, considering that Laura herself left behind great descriptions of her clothing when she was a teenager, but little of her appearance as a married woman with a half-grown child, a farm full of hard work and a flock of chickens to tend. I wanted my wardrobe and grooming to be as close to what she and other women of her taste and means and practical needs might have done as possible, but also to maintain a level of practicality that would translate for travel and everyday life. I knew I had a challenge. I have always had very oily, straight but unevenly-textured, mostly fine (but tons of it) hair. So, with the help of a great hairdresser and some experimentation, I expanded upon my earlier commitment to reduce damaging habits and products.

I had first eliminated any products with alcohols or silicones and other plastics about 15 years ago, and rarely touch even gels or other styling products. But to get my hair to maintain a healthy apppearance and grow well without split ends, I had to commit to regularly scheduled trims. That is simply a fact for certain hair types like mine. I also had to put the hairdryer down. More often than I wanted to. And, I had to buy better tools. But, by also by following a few more of the “always” and “nevers” of hair care, I found I could grow it to be the healthiest it has ever been since I was about seven years old. Here are some basics:

-ALWAYS brush hair before going to sleep. NEVER sleep with clips, barrettes, braids, or hair ties in your hair (it tugs and tears at the hair as your head moves on the pillow).

-NEVER use shampoos or conditioners which contain sulfates. You don’t need a lather to get it clean! Sulfates dry your hair and encourage breakage.

-NEVER use a brush in wet hair. A wide-toothed comb is gentler.

-ALWAYS avoid a hair dryer when possible/practical. If you must use one, get one with a “cold shot” setting and only use that setting. It will lessen damage.

-NEVER let your hair loose if the weather is very windy. The tangled mess will be difficult to untangle without damage; not worth it!

It took me 5 years to get to a length that works for all aspects of my life and isn’t too impractical for everyday. I compromised by keeping the length at the lower middle of my back, and use a carefully-matched switch to add realistic (and historically-accurate!) volume to my 1890s hairstyle.

Photos to follow!

Originally posted on The Pragmatic Costumer:

A Tiny Bit of Historical Hair Care for the Modern Woman

Young Teenage Girl with Sausage Curls, circa 1860

I have very greasy hair and always have. It’s also fine, but dry at the ends, so I have to cleanse it every day yet hydrate it with heavy creams. Recently, I’ve delved into the world of alternative haircare. In my case, I’ve taken up co-washing, which uses conditioner as a “shampoo” that doesn’t strip hair as badly as regular shampoo. It’s basically alternative hair care for casuals, but so far, it’s been working pretty well! A lot of alternative haircare methods remind me a lot of pre-20th century haircare methods. Before the great hygiene shift created by 20th century marketing, women didn’t just style their hair differently than we do; they cared for their hair differently, too.

Lotta Crabtree, an American Actress
One of her defining physical features was…

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