Date

5-2006

Comments

CONTRIBUTOR: Welters, Linda [faculty advisor, Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design] DATE: 2006 SUBJECT: History SUBJECT: Social life & customs FORMAT: Microsoft Word document, 132,608 bytes FORMAT: Microsoft Word document, 91,136 bytes FORMAT: Microsoft Word document, 235,520 bytes FORMAT: Microsoft Word document, 23,040 bytes FORMAT: Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, 4,034,048 bytes FORMAT: 152 JPEG images 2006 URI Senior Honors Project

Keywords

sewing diary, women, nineteenth-century, textile industry, New England industry, New England seafaring, tourism, celebrations, mourning

Abstract

Hidden inside the library of the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts is wonderful resource for the study of late nineteenth-century America. When Ann Eliza Cunningham was middle aged, she compiled a sewing diary that included scraps of material from dresses she wore or China trade fabrics brought home by her father. Ann Eliza not only included assorted swatches; but she associated the fabrics with different events in her life. She includes swatches from dresses she wore on her wedding day in 1856, for Thanksgiving, and for various family celebrations like birthday parties. Similar to the work of a quilt-maker, Ann Eliza sewed swatches to paper to remind herself of her own history. Ann Eliza’s diary is a unique contribution to nineteenth-century New England history that follows in the footsteps of other sewing diaries. These diaries hold a wealth of information; but unfortunately, are not widely known as primary sources in the field of women’s history. Perhaps the most famous of these diaries is Natalie Rothstein’s A Lady of Fashion: Barbara Johnson’s Album of Styles and Fabrics (Thames and Hudson, 1987). Other sewing diaries include Ann Eliza’s sister Charlotte Augusta Lane, held in a private collection, and the Kate S. Harris fabric scrapbooks held in the Joseph Downs Collection in Winterthur, Delaware. For my project I have transcribed Ann Eliza’s diary and photographed every page to record the diary and make it available to the URI community. My paper investigates this sewing diary as a window into the life of an upper middle class woman in the Victorian age. Specifically I focus on celebrations, travel, and mourning practices. I would like to thank Professor Linda Welters, Joy Emery, Susan Jerome, Karen Herbaugh, the American Textile History Museum, and the Office of the Provost for their support of my project. Without them, this study could not have been made possible.

HPR 401 - Abstract.doc (89 kB)
Abstract.doc

HPR 401 - Transcription.doc (230 kB)
Transcription.doc

HPR 401 - Paper Outline.doc (22 kB)
Paper Outline.doc

HPR 401 Presentation.ppt (3939 kB)
Presentation.ppt

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