Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Challenge Event, 1775 - Cori's Clothing

18th century woodcut - Source
Hello everyone! Here is part 2 of my 3 part post. You can read part one here about my Challenge clothing and persona. Here's a quick recap. Participants in the Hive's 2013 Challenge at the Minute Man National Park were asked to provide documentation for all their clothing which was then placed in a binder for the public to look through. Here is the event description.

"Across Two Summers Part II - The Countryside at War
"In the summer of 1775, the people of Massachusetts faced the challenge of supporting an army at war while at the same time trying to provide for their own homes and families. Visit Hartwell Tavern to learn about life during the Siege of Boston. Talk to displaced refugees traveling away from Boston and surrounding communities, as well as Provincial soldiers heading towards the front lines. Enlist in the Massachusetts Army, learn the proper military exercise of the day, help manufacture musket and artillery cartridges, and immerse yourself in another period of time, when nothing less than Liberty was at stake."

Normally Cori portrays a British soldier at events. For the French and Indian War period he wears a kilt as a member of the 78th Frasier's Highlanders. For American Revolutionary War events he's part of the 20th Regiment of Foot which is a British light infantry unit. And finally for the War of 1812 era he is a private in the 27th Inniskilling Regiment, another British unit. So basically he's always wearing some kind of red uniform. It's not very often he gets to be an ordinary civilian at events so this part of his wardrobe doesn't get much attention. However, he does have a nice wool suit (which you can see here) and we are making improvements where we can with everything else. Eventually he will need another pair of breeches (he's not allowed to wear his nice wool ones unless he's dressing up!) a new shirt, and frock coat.

We decided on a basic working class/farmers portrayal for him for Saturday. Here is the documentation for Cori's attire.

Shirt – Blue and white check shirt, hand sewn. Based on one in Fitting and Proper by Sharon Burston.
“Stolen … blue and white check shirt…” Massachusetts Spy, August 16, 1775
Neckerchief – “a blue handkerchief with white spots” February 14, 1776
“a blue and white bird eyed cotton handkerchief “ March 12, 1767
“a spotted cotton handkerchief about his neck” October 22, 1783
Jacket – Brown linen jacket, hand sewn. Based on jacket in Costume Close Up by Linda Baumgarten. Cori's jacket was made using the JP Ryan frock coat pattern with some slight changes. It's better suited to the 1750/60s but as Cori was portraying a lower/working class person we felt that it was OK for his coat to be a bit old fashioned.
“Had on .. a brown cloth jacket and breeches” Connecticut Gazette, October 13, 1775
"Had on and took with him ... a brown coat ...a checked shirt, a pair of gray breeches, pitched and much worn. "  The New-York Gazette, January 2, 1764
Breeches and spats – 1750/60s style breeches with fly front. Worn with black spats as seen in A Scene near Cox Heath, or the Enraged Farmer. May 1, 1779 Publisher: Sayer & Bennett and Ladies Maid Purchasing a Leek, Lewis Walpole Library
Black tri-corner hat – Common style of the 18th century. Tricorn Hat 1779 - Connecticut, National Museum of Americana History Behring Center NMAH#7176
Market Wallet – Blue and white striped ticking. Based on one in collection of Historic Bethlehem Inc.  

Ladies Maid Purchasing a Leek, Lewis Walpole Library
A Scene near Cox Heath, or the Enraged Farmer. May 1, 1779 Publisher: Sayer & Bennett
Do you want any spoons, any hard-mettle spoons: 1760
Plate 11 from Twelve Cries of London.  
Artist/Photographer/Maker Paul Sandby c.1760 - Source Museum of London
Great image of a man with a market wallet. Painting by Mdm Francois Dupare c.1760's - Source Washington State University
Market wallets were a common way of carrying goods from town to market or for carrying extra clothes for a long journey. They are often mentioned in runaway ads and came in different sizes. They are rectangular in shape with an open slit down the middle. Items are place in either end and then the whole thing is twisted shut carried over the shoulder, arm, or even around the neck. Ours is based on one in the collection of Historic Bethlehem Inc, Penn. and is roughly 18" x 36". I made a much smaller one for carrying modern items to events but it somehow made it's way into Cori's gear never to be seen again. Guess I'll need to make a new one for myself. 

Put all the above information together and here is what you get! As we were walking from the parking lot to Harwell Tavern, Cori discovered that my little table/work bench fit perfectly on his back. A creative and clever way to carry things!  In the Cries of London series you see lots of people carrying things on their backs, although mostly in baskets of some kind. Looking at the pictures of Cori I noticed that his blue and white neckerchief is not visible for some reason, but it was earlier in the day. :) He wore same thing to the event at OSV a few weeks ago. Thankfully there was no harry mole this time!

We used the market wallet to carry our lunch and an onion bottle with water. We often use it to pack our clothing in when going to events. It's so handy!


  1. I love it! A nice alternative to the basket or blanket-wrapped bundle.

  2. Market wallets are so handy! With a few exceptions I can pack just about everything I need for weekend event into one.


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