J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Deerfield Textile Forum on “Invisible Makers,” 10 Apr.

On Saturday, 10 April, Historic Deerfield will host a virtual forum on “Invisible Makers: Textiles, Dress, and Marginalized People in 18th- and 19th-Century America.”

The event description says:
Globalized manufacturing in the 21st century has stimulated a greater need to understand where, how, by whom, and under what conditions our clothing is made. In the past, the weaving of textiles and making of everyday clothing has largely been perceived as anonymous, most especially with regard to marginalized people living in white societies. Research into the efforts of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color to design, produce, acquire, and modify textiles and dress within the Anglo-European, North American framework has historically been difficult to quantify because of a paucity of surviving evidence as well as limited attempts both past and present to record and credit those efforts.

Lectures from a dynamic roster of academic and museum professionals promises to enrich and deepen current conversations about fashion both past and present, discussing examples of the important roles and contributions of BIPOC textile and clothing producers and consumers from the past. Presented as case studies, the research includes textiles and clothing produced by forced labor within plantations; people of color working as tailors and dressmakers in Massachusetts; and marginalized people who fashioned their dressed bodies using Anglo-European garments in ways that both subverted normative styles while expressing “other” cultural identities.
Here’s a sample of the scheduled presentations:
  • “Someone Knows My Name: A Framework for Researching the Lives and Experiences of Under-represented Craftspeople in Early America,” Tiffany Momon, Assistant Professor of History, University of the South
  • “Luxury Slaves, Negro Governors, and Jim Crow: Black Dandy Beginnings,” Monica L. Miller, Professor of Africana Studies and English, Barnard College, Columbia University
  • “‘A boy’s shirt for Waghrosra’s wife’s son’: The Global History of an Early American Indigenous Trade Garment,” Laura Johnson, Linda Eaton Associate Curator of Textiles, Winterthur Museum
  • “Behind the Seams: Enslaved Labor in the 1770s Boston Tailoring Trade,” David E. Lazaro, Curator of Textiles, Historic Deerfield
This program will be presented live via Zoom webinar. The link to the webinar will be sent to registrants before the event, and recordings will be available to registrants for two weeks afterward.

The basic cost for the webinar is $60, $50 for Historic Deerfield members, and $45 for students. People newly joining Historic Deerfield can obtain a year’s membership (normally $50) and registration for this webinar for a single price of $85.

For more information and to register, go to this page.

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