The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects

Browse Items (68 total)

  • 1964_5.JPG

    Hank of wool from Buchanan, Kentucky. Sheep were among the early domesticated animals brought to Kentucky. Home production of wool increased during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 due to trade embargos. Free and enslaved women prepared and spun the wool into a usable yarn. They used the yarn for knitting, or it was taken to a professional weaver (free or enslaved person) who turned it into cloth. Wool was often woven with cotton or hemp in early Kentucky textiles. Approximately 4/12 lbs. of spun wool were needed to make a single blanket. Wool cloth was also sewn into clothing by women.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1978_12_1.jpg

    Early silk empire style wedding dress. Empire dresses emerged in the early 19th century and rapidly became fashionable across Europe, particularly England.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1977_7_3.jpg

    Early style teaspoon with egg-shaped bowl and slender handle widening to a modified coffin style. Undecipherable monogram on end of handle. "SA" stamped in rectangular cartouche. Also a winged eagle, looking left.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1926_2.jpg

    Silk dresses of the early 19th century embodies the period between the whiteness of dresses of the early Regency gowns and the decorative frills and flounces of the 1810s. This dress belonged to a woman of the McNair -Anderson family.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1992_13_1b.jpg

    This cotton dress is a great example of the changes (simplified, 'natural' dresses) occurring in women's fashion in the late 18th century to early 19th century. 'Naturalness' in this context refers to the use of lightweight , easily washable materials (like muslin, cotton, linen, poplin, and batiste) for dresses.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1987_x_4.jpg

    Empire dresses emerged in the early 19th century and rapidly became fashionable across Europe (particularly England).
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1949_1.jpg

    This shawl is said to have belonged to Ann Rogers Clark Gwathmey (1755-1822). See also 1943.5.1 (miniature portrait). Paisley Shawls were a luxury item worn by affluent women. Paisley, as a style, didn't get its name until the 1830s-40s, named after the Scottish town that began to reproduce designs copied from textiles that were originally imported from India. The pin and cone design motifs had their origins from Indo-Iranian people in Persia. Luxurious textiles from India were in high demand among the upper class and often can be seen in portraits of affluent women. By the mid 18th century, England's East India Company was importing shawls to London. In the early 1800s, Scottish mills began producing their own version of the highly sought after shawls, which made them more accessible to the rising middle class.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1947_2_26.jpg

    Samplers were a staple in the education of girls, designed to teach needlework skills needed for household duties. Samples could be symbolic of the girl's culture, religion, social class, or personal accomplishments. Sampler making was seen as the ground work for civic, social, and familial responsibility. This was made by Abigail Prather Churchill the daughter of Abigail Pope Oldham Churchill (1789-1854), around age 11-13 at Nazareth Academy (which is near Bardstown, KY).
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/2021_21.jpg

    This sampler was made by Mary Ann Logan in Shakertown, Kentucky. Samplers were a staple in the education of girls. The samplers were designed to teach needlework skills needed for household duties and could be a symbol of the girl's culture, religion, social class, and personal accomplishments. Sampler making was seen as the ground work for civic, social, and familial responsibility.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1987_27.jpg

    This darning sampler is a great example of the various embroidery techniques that young girls were expected to learn and be proficient in. Samplers were a staple in the education of girls. The samplers were designed to teach needlework skills needed for household duties and could be a symbol of the girl's culture, religion, social class, and personal accomplishments. Sampler making was seen as the ground work for civic, social, and familial responsibility.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1935_4_overton.jpg

    According to family narrative, this bed sheet was made by an enslaved weaver using flax that was grown on Dabney Carr Overton's farm in Fayette County, Kentucky. In 1830, Overton enslaved thirty-two persons, including twenty female children and adults. Enslaved women were skilled spinners, weavers, and seamstresses, whose skills provided comfort for the families that enslaved them.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1913_1_27-copy.jpg

    An 'M's & O's' patterned sheet made of linen and cotton. The family narratives for this linen sheet states that it was made in 1816 by Betsy Breckinridge Meredith, sister of John Breckinridge. Family narrative also states the flax was grown, spun, and woven by enslaved people on the Winton Plantation. Enslaved women and men were skilled spinners, weavers, and seamstress on the frontier. Their skilled labor made life easier and more comfortable for their enslavers.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1913_1_19.jpg

    A piece of tow linen (has a coarse texture) used for a bedtick, a bag shaped mattress stuffed with feathers and straw. Likely the fiber for this coverlet was cultivated on the family farm. Another textile from this family came with a note stating that according to family narrative that the flax was grown, spun, and woven by enslaved persons on the Winton Plantation. Elizabeth and/or an enslaved person may have spun the fiber at home, then it was likely turned over to an enslaved weaver.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/textile-shuttles.jpg

    Shuttles were textile tools designed to carry and move yarn back and forth through the warp which in turn creates cloth.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/weaving-reed.jpg

    Weaving reeds are a part of weaving looms that are used to separate and space the warp threads, which guides the shuttle’s movement across the loom and pushes weft threads into place. Reeds were interchangeable and different reeds were used to make different types of fabric. Despite many family narratives that claim female ancestors wove the textiles, generally weaving was a profession for men. However, there were exceptions, and in the Kentucky frontier there is evidence that enslaved men and women were also skilled weavers. More likely, the fiber was cultivated and harvested on the family farm. It was then prepared and spun into yarn by women who then turned it over to trained weavers who made it into cloth, which might be finished at home or sewn into clothing. In the early 20th century, during a revival of frontier craft, weaving became a skilled craft dominated by women.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1996_5_1.jpg

    This spinning wheel is said to have belonged to Caldweller Slaughter who came to Kentucky as early as 1787. It could also have come from the family of one of his wives. His first wife, Margaret Ransdell Slaughter, died in 1786. Some sources indicate he may have remarried Mary Fowke who died a few years later (unverified). He then married Lucy Slaughter in 1790. Slaughter owned 200 acres in the area today known as Cherokee Triangle in Louisville. Spinning wheels were crucial to early pioneer families. Generally, weaving was a professional occupation for men, and in Kentucky was also done by enslaved men and women. Spinning on the other hand, was a woman’s task and was done in between gardening, milking, preserving crops, cooking food, making/mending clothes, doing laundry, and rearing children. Fiber was painstakingly cultivated, processed, and spun on the family farm and then taken to a community weaver to be made into cloth, which might be finished at home or sewn into clothing. Approximately 3 lbs. of spun flax or 4/12 lbs. of spun wool was needed to make a single sheet or blanket. Spinning wheels, for some American women, were more than just tools and were also political statements. Prior to the American Revolution, and then during the embargos of the War of 1812 some colonial women (particularly in New England) hosted and participated in 'Spinning Bees' to create yarn and thread to boycott English-made goods.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1956_7_2.jpg

    Flax paddles were used for scutching, part of the process for 'dressing' flax, or getting it prepped for spinning. The paddles separated the hard stocks from the useable fiber underneath. It took 4 months to grow flax from seed. It was beaten with the paddle until fibers could be pulled by hand through a hatchel to separate the fibers, which were then bundled and hung for drying to prepare them for spinning. Flax is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world. It was an important crop during the colonial and early frontier era. Until the invention of the cotton gin, flax was easier to harvest and process. In Kentucky, it was commonly used in handwoven household linens. Historians estimate that families needed about ¼ to ½ acre of flax per person in a household.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1978_4_22.jpg

    In addition to flax, wool was an important fiber during the colonial and frontier era. Wool combs arranged the fibers, separating the undercoat from outercoat and teasing the wool before carding by disentangling, cleaning and intermixing fibers. Sheep were among the early domesticated animals brought to Kentucky. Home production of wool increased during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 due to trade embargos. Free and enslaved women prepared and spun the wool into a usable yarn. They used the yarn for knitting, or it was taken to a professional weaver (free or enslaved person) who turned it into cloth. Wool was often woven with cotton or hemp in early Kentucky textiles. Approximately 4/12 lbs. of spun wool were needed to make a single blanket. Wool cloth was also sewn into clothing by women.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1932_14.jpg

    A mold that could make three candles at a time. Most candles at the time were made with tallow (animal fat) because other options like beeswax were expensive. Using bayberries, despite providing wax with a pleasant smell, was hard work and took too many berries to produce an adequate amount of candles. Once more lighting options were more readily available (lanterns, betty lamps, etc.) candles would be considered too expensive for daily use and were brought out for only special occasions.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1926.1.jpg

    Sugar was an expensive and coveted luxury item in frontier households. The chest protected sugar from theft or flies, and was also a status symbol indicating a household's socio-economic status. This sugar chest belonged to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon (1791-1833). The Tylers were early colonists in Jefferson County who had a cluster of family farms near Floyd's Fork.
Output Formats

atom, dcmes-xml, json, omeka-xml, rss2