Tuesday, 5 September 2023

September Book Tuesday

 Well so much for Summer, sigh.

This Month's Book Tuesday comes courtesy of VSA member Marian Gibbard.

The Victorian Society of Alberta

Motoring Costume
by  Andrew Lane

 Published in 1987 and covering the time period of 1900 to 1910, this short (32 pages) overview of what people wore while travelling in the increasingly popular motor cars of the early 20th century is fascinating.

The many photographs and illustrations provide excellent examples for those who wish to create their own, and the accompanying text provides sufficient detail and context to further understand the logic behind choosing such garments.

An quick and enjoyable read with plenty of material to spur further research if you are so inclined.

Monday, 4 September 2023

Happy 118th Alberta!


Saturday, September 2, we attended an event at the Badlands Historical Centre in Drumheller. 

There was a cake in celebration of Alberta's 118th birthday, barbecued burgers in the parking lot and a silent auction, proceeds going towards a new roof for the facility.
We had the use of a desk and display table to put out artifacts and books pertaining to life in Alberta from 1880-1914 as well as the coal mining history of the area. 
It was delightful to speak to the public and share our knowledge of history.
The Badlands Historical Centre is located conveniently in downtown Drumheller. The displays are varied and informative, focusing on Drumheller history with coal mining,  prehistoric history, plus a display about the RCMP, and one on local citizens who were very artistic. 
All in all, it was a great way to spend a Saturday to help celebrate our provinces 118th birthday!
If you'd like to visit the Badlands Historical Centre yourself, they can be found at 335, 1st St East in Drumheller Alberta
The Victorian Society of Alberta

Friday, 18 August 2023

August Fashion Friday

A question I am often asked is what colours are there in the photos? 

So for this month's Fashion Friday we present two images and a video to keep in mind when looking at historic photographs from our period.

Clothing, buildings, uniforms etc are all shades of grey of course.  However, unlike modern Black and White photos (using a system known as Panchromatic) the original photographic systems did not react to all colours the same way!

These two images give you a good idea of what colours look like in the original photos.
Note the comparison with normal Black and White in the center of the top image and the right of the bottom.

Also keep in mind that most early tintype and glass plate photos are mirror images so they are backwards from what one would expect.

A good example of how the colours don't always match up with what you would expect is this famous shot from the American Civil War of George Armstrong Custer and his friend who was a Confederate soldier.


Custer, on the right, has the typical dark jacket easily assumed to be Union Blue but, what colour are his uniform trousers?  

We know from colour lithographs of the time, and surviving examples, that they were fairly light blue. If we didn't already know that though it could easily be assumed to be grey like the Confederate's trousers.





Here is a video from VPS_Gettysburg found on Instagram, that shows some great examples.
There is a thriving Tintype photo scene for re-enactors in the States so lots of examples of the outfits in colour to compare with their tintype versions.

The Victorian Society of Alberta.


Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Days of Yore 2023

 Another fantastic weekend of history in Didsbury Alberta!

Held on Saturday and Sunday Aug 5 and 6, 2023 at Rosebud Park in Didsbury the ninth edition of Days of Yore was a great success.  We were there along with historical re-enactor groups stretching from Vikings to WWII.

Members of the Victorian Society at DOY 2023
Victorian Society of Alberta Members at DOY 2023


Here is an awesome little video produced by the Edmonton House Brigade that captures the feel of the event pretty well.

Our camp was one of the largest again this year.

In addition to your editor's "Victorian Internet" Telegraph display, our camp included a WWI "Casualty Clearing Station", a period under canvas School Room, complete with portrait of Her Majesty and school books from the time, a laundry display and an active Croquet field rounded out our busy camp.

Another fantastic weekend.

Already planning and scheming for next year!

The Victorian Society of Alberta


Tuesday, 1 August 2023

August Book Tuesday

 While everyone is getting ready for  Days of Yore, this months Book Tuesday is a cookbook from 1804.
A little early for our period but its 490 pages are filled with recipes that would still have been in use as "standard fare".
Available for download at the Internet Archive.

The Victorian Society of Alberta

The housekeeper's instructor, or, Universal family cook : being an ample and clear display of the art of cookery in all its various branches ...

IN the primitive ages of the world, when the preservation of human existence was supported only by the simple and spontaneous productions of Nature, Mankind were totally unacquainted with every mode which has been since discovered and adopted for the gratification of sensual indulgence. As time advanced, the people became more dispersed, and nations were formed in different parts of the known world, so improvement took place as well in the Art of Cookery, as in the common transactions of life.

Every age contributed, by additional invention. enjoyment, till at length those, were simply used in their natural hate, became refined, and were rendered, by art, not only pleasing, but deliciously grateful to the palate. The means of acquiring such indulgence for the subject of this work, which the writer has, for a great number of years made it his study to obtain, and which, he flatters himself, will be found so accurate, clear, and concise, as to render every person, who follows the directions given, so professed a Cook, as to produce reputation to themselves, by giving the most ample satisfaction to those for whom they provide.

In the execution of this performance, we shall proceed in regular gradation to describe the method of properly dressing every kind of provision, as Fish, Flesh, Fowl, &c. to all of which we shall subjoin the, manner of providing their respective Sauces, as also the proper mode of Carving each Joint, Bird, or Fish, with Neatness and Dexterity ; so that the Housewife will not only be complete Mistress of The Whole Art of Cookery, but may also acquit herself at the Table with Honour and Reputation.

We shall only farther observe, that this very ample Cohesion (which, exclusive of the common Course of Provisions) will contain every thing yet invented for the gratification of the Appetite, is presented to the public as the most complete in its Nature ever yet formed, the whole being the produce of Time, Study, and Experience. As such we lay it before our Readers, not doubting but our labours will be rewarded by the advantages they will receive from being perfectly acquainted with a complete knowledge of the Culinary Art in all its respective Branches. The Receipts for each Article are formed on so easy and cheap a Plan as to be within the Purchase of all Ranks of People.

N.B. A Copious Index also is added, whereby the Reader may, with Ease, immediately refer to any Article in this valuable Collection.

Friday, 21 July 2023

July Fashion Friday

 While everyone is working on getting our Days of Yore camp ready to go an often asked question is how did Victorians dress during the heat of Summer.  Days of Yore is usually very hot indeed so we have to keep it in mind.

Gentlemen were allowed to dispense with coat and waistcoat when working. Although they usually kept those items close to hand in case the boss came by and when travelling back and forth to work. Ladies, however had more constraints due to "propriety" but also simply fashion. To get the correct fashionable silhouette requires many layers so how did they handle the heat?

This fashion business was less of an issue out here in the West of course, but the propriety element was certainly still there. The result was the "Little House on the Prairie" effect. The main anachronism in the TV style is that the mother is not wearing a corset, she almost certainly would have been as there was still a need for support.

The promo pic is also missing the needed bonnets that would have always been worn when outside.

Most photographs of the period show people "dressed up" for business,  travel, and simply being in public, not necessarily for everyday work around the house, yard or fields. So it is tougher to find what people generally wore in the heat of Summer.

However the reenactor community has re-discovered how to handle it and  here are several links to interesting discussions on that very subject.  


Victorian Clothing Through the Seasons

"During the Victorian era many layers of clothing were required to achieve a fashionable silhouette and women wore dresses all year round. These facts have helped to feed misconceptions about Victorian clothing and often overshadow the logical solutions Victorian women used to regulate their body temperature and stay comfortable regardless of the weather."

Lots of photos here.

Victorian Clothing and the Heat of Summer

Our ancestors didn’t know about air conditioning, and wearing only a camisole (aka t-shirt) and men’s trousers (aka pants or shorts) would have been beyond scandalous. They couldn’t even imagine NOT being dressed in a proper chemise, drawers and petticoats then the dress (usually skirt and bodice) on top.

That’s simply how clothing was worn in the 19th century.

PLUS…. and people forget this…. the fabric used was natural – cotton and linen. Thin fabrics that breathe and keep you cool in the heat.

The comments below this post have lots of insight to the practicality of Victorian styles to today's reenactors.

And finally a fun video on the "Old West".

The Victorian Society of Alberta

Friday, 14 July 2023

Days of Yore Info

We are working steadily to get ready for Days of Yore Aug 5 and 6 in Didsbury Alberta.
Come and join in the fun!

 If you are looking for links on all of the awesome Days of Yore info here they are:
Days of Yore Website & Tickets - https://www.daysofyore.ca
Days of Yore Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/daysofyorefestival
The Victorian Society of Alberta