Monday, February 2, 2015

Broadsides, a Costume, and College

One day last autumn I drove my daughter to college to drop her off for classes. I couldn't resist taking a picture of her wearing her colonial attire. Don't you just love that red cloak flapping in the wind? Doesn't everyone wear colonial attire to college?


Perhaps they do when they are taking an American Literature class, 1660-1860. My daughter was quite excited to study this era which includes many of her favorites from literature. What a grand opportunity to study literary works of the past. However the students were told to choose a post-modern classic (written after 1945) for the major project, which had to be agreed upon within the small group they were working with. We were a bit perplexed by this assignment, since the post-modern world view is completely different from those from 1660-1860. Nevertheless that was the assignment. Post-modern is not a favorite. However my daughter and her group chose a classic that related to the 17th century, The  Crucible.

For the project, the group created broadsides with 17th century style renderings and text detailing the play. This was printed on special reproduction parchment paper that had been purchased at Colonial Williamsburg.
Brown University defines broadside as "single sheet publications, often issued as ephemera or announcements." For more information and examples from their collection, click here. 
Here are examples of what broadsides looked like.
Here are printable broadsides for reenactments.
The group recreated the play via class participation. The guys decided to wear their graduation robes and portray the judges. Since my daughter was to portray the infamous Abigail Williams, my daughter needed a different costume. She looked through here historical wardrobe and decided to wear the nearest outfit she had to the late 17th century...

Of course my daughter is actually wearing late 18th century clothing, but it was certainly close enough for the idea of the late 17th century. While she walked about on campus, she was stopped often and queried about her clothing. Since I sewed her outfit, and many others, she knows much about the history of this era of clothing so she had fun answering the questions. She said it was quite funny when she was walking behind a couple of students. She overheard one who said, "Wouldn't it be neat if we actually got to meet someone from the past?" As my daughter passed by, their expressions were priceless!
My  daughter cleverly carried everything she needed for class, including props for the play, in here colonial basket.
Obviously the presentation was a hit!
Incidentally this wasn't the first time my daughter wore historic clothing to campus. A year before she wore a 16th century gown to her Renaissance class to talk about Thomas Jefferson and an Italian who influenced Jefferson's architectural style. You can read all about it here.


  1. Ha! Would have loved to see the look on those students' faces! I am sure C was loving it! :)

    1. She did! She is quite the chatterbox now and told me every little detail! Then she repeated it to everyone else who would listen! =)