Frontier Style (1700-1800) Symposium

Yesterday I attended the first half of the symposium Frontier Style: Culture and Fashion at the Edge of Empire, Mohawk Valley of New York, 1700-1800 at the Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown.  I did buy the collected papers over the mid-afternoon break, but I took notes before then - and then the penultimate presentation was from Mark Hutter, and he didn't have a printed paper so I took copious notes.  In hopes that some of this might be of interest, I've written up my notes here.

"Neither French, Nor English, Nor Indian": Palatine Germans of New York
Phillip Otterness

Palatinate is in SW [Germany], but a lot of "Palatine" immigrants not actually from Palatinate.  Bacharach, Bad Sobernheim.

Not much architectural influence on America.  Had vinyards [in Germany].  Area was depopulated during the 30 Years War, repopulated after with Protestants and Catholics who lived together peacefully.

Over 20,000 people in spring/summer 1709 left.  14k -> London, 3k [of those] -> New York.  Could have left because of warfare, French [invasions], religion, bad winter - but these were common.

Kocherthal's "Golden Book", 1709.  Wrote book about Carolinas, talking it up to potential settlers.  Hinted that Queen Anne would give them free land.

Anne does tell churches to donate money to help these Protestants [when they get to London].  Live in tents on Blackheath.  Called selves Palatines to get sympathy because [Palatinate] had been invaded by French.  Sent 3k to Ireland, most come back.

[Didn't write this down, but: Anne finally contracted to send 3k of them to New York on the condition that they would make pitch and tar for the navy, which the British didn't know how to make.  Neither did the Palatinates, but they signed the contract anyway.]

[Livingstone put them at] Eastcamp ([now] Germantown) on his land.  Originally were going to be in Schoharie, Mohawks disagreed.  Settlers decided Schoharie was "land of Canaan".  Mohawks allow them to move there.  Palatines assimilate with them, develop their own identity (Protestant German Colonial ID)..

Women worked in the fields -> shocking

Disappearing by early 1800s, w. Erie Canal, more settlers.

Slavery in the Mohawk Valley: 1750-1800
Clifford Oliver Mealy
(nb: This was the talk that Cliff gave, in the breeches I made for him.)

Mabee Farm - Jack [a slave].  [It was presented in a first-person interpretation.]  Bill of sale of stuff to Crown Point expedition, sent by wagon with Jack.  Could have taken it and left.  Speculation that Jack was the son of Jacob Mabee?

18th century Northern slaves more educated/skilled than later Southern ones -> more different tasks
Spoke English and Dutch, could write and count.  Northern slaves had more personal power.

[Drawing of the smock I'm making him out of the same wool as the breeches]

Dressing for Success on the Mohawk Frontier: Hendrick, William Johnson, and the Indian Fashion
Tim Shannon

[Sir William] Johnson came to 1746 treaty conference in Albany dressed and painted as [Iroquois] war captain.  Hendrick dressed in English manner at Battle of Lake George.

Common for "cultural crossdressing".  Natives took on Euro clothes but dressed "in the Indian fashion".
- loose cloth wrapped, cut from bolt
- preferred  own clothes below waist
- accessories with color/sound
- tattoos and paint (vermilion and verdigris)

High Style in the Hinterlands: 18th Century Design for the Consumer and the Fashionable Household, 1600-1800
Mark Hutter

Comparisons of portraits to pieces of furniture

1666 - Oriental/Turkish suit instituted at English court: open coat, vest [the period word, btw], "pajamas" (loose trousers) -> poorly received, replaced

Stripes out of fashion in England 1650-1700, but then thought of as oriental from 1720.

Wrapper - 1670s introduced (from kimono) by Dutch.  Worn at home or in own business.  Loses sense of "ethnicity" in England.  Indian imitations.

Banyans - Indian origin.  Fitted in torso, set in sleeves, A-line skirt, asymmetrical closure.  Could be worn w. waistcoat and no shirt (sleeves too narrow).

Matching man and woman's wrappers.  Women's are more private. Artistic neo-classical portraits - costume or wrappers? Female wrapping gowns could be belted (oriental) for more acceptability.

Male slaves often dressed in orientalist style.

Restoration (actually 17th-18th c in general) vs. Roman hair.  Busts of Julia Titii (well-circulated during the period) show similar hairstyles.  "returning with Roman heads" from Grand Tour -> could mean "with philosophy and such", could mean "with new hairstyle".  Bangs also = a la Titus.  Red suit a souvenir od Tour - connections unclear.  Cardinals, Roman Legion?  Symbol of education.

Portland vase -> Wedgewood.  Working with Bolton to make accessories.

Nature is imperfect, man should control it as upbringing and education improve/refine humans.  Closest thing to perfect nature is Antique.

Status Symbols: Clothes in Colonial New York
Kjirsten Gustavson

Can find silks up in Schenectady.  Wealthy who wanted gentility would pay to look like English aristocracy.


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