Linn's Stamp News had an update of sorts, posted to their website yesterday, March 30th, along with the image below. The official commemorative Mayflower stamp is scheduled to be issued in "Fall?" The latest specific issue date they had for any new 2020 stamp was May 21st, Harlem Renaissance. My guess is November, so check Linn's Stamp News, the USPS Postal Store, or MayflowerFaces.com (this site) in mid-Summer. These will go quickly, so you will want to order them from the USPS Postal Store as soon as you can.
Below is a "falling band," made from Reconstructing History's pattern RH103, "Men's and Women's 17th C Collars and Cuffs." This is the white curved collar that you often see hanging over the top of what we think of as a suit jacket, going all the way around.( In my case it will be to hide the funky looking neckline on my jacket.) These were worn by both men and women and were detachable. Made of linen, which was not particularly difficult or expensive to get, things like collars, cuffs, and undergarments could be removed and washed as often as needed. Not so for the actual suit, pants, or skirt which were made from heavier, more expensive, possibly imported fabric. What you see was probably on the order of 6 hours of hand sewing but machine sewing would take hours off of that.
I promised to give you a source or sources for historically accurate linen (and materials) should you wish to make your own Pilgrim costume or accessories. Go to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (aka "The Mayflower Society") website: https://www.themayflowersociety.org and at the top in the pink bar, hover your mouse over "News & Events." Select "Dress Like a Pilgrim." That section has pictures, text, a video, and at the bottom the downloadable "Dress Like a Pilgrim Procurement Guide" PDF. It has several names and addresses for garb providers and places where you can obtain the raw materials. After checking out cloth sources, I bought the linen fabric and handsewing thread to make a smock from Wm. Booth, Draper in Racine, WI (on page 7 of the Pilgrim Procurement Guide.) Their web site offers information on the weight of fabric, which you need to know to determine if if it will be sturdy enough, opaque enough, and historically accurate. The patterns from Reconstructing History tell you which weight is appropriate for each type of garment. The picture below is of 3.7 oz White Handkerchief Linen. That's my hand behind it, to help you estimate the opacity.
Internet Archive (archive.org) announced Wednesday that they are temporarily suspending their Waitlist that sometimes slows your efforts to research a particular family. They're calling it their National Emergency Library because so many students are stuck at home. If you are like me and put in a Waitlist request and then forget why you wanted that book when you get the email saying it's available, this is a blessing. Thank you, Internet Archive. The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS, aka americanancestors.org) announced in their weekly online newsletter that they are giving free access to the books and other publications in their Digital Collections. They are normally available only to members. To access them, go to digitalcollections.americanancestors.org. Thank you, NEHGS!
If you are going a little crazy and knitting Pilgrim garb is not your skill (see March 3rd's "Clocked Stockings" blogpost), try sewing it. If you have sewn even a little, a chemise/smock/shirt should be achievable. This is the linen top that men wore in the 1500s-1600s - a mid-calf length version being what the women wore. They slept in it at night, put their clothes on over it and wore it all day, etc. It was easier and cheaper to have 1 or 2 of these and wash them rather than their outer garments.
Reconstructing History sells downloadable, historically accurate patterns for garments & accessories, including Pilgrim garb. For about 1/3 of what you'd pay for tissue-paper dressmaking patterns, good for 1 or 2 uses, you can download a PDF, have your local office supply store print it on large-format paper or print it yourself (see photo) and make any and all versions as often as you like. Reconstructing History also includes advice on altering the "look" as desired.
Below you can see pattern RH104 (Men's & Women's 1600s Shirts and Shifts - companion not included), my printed pattern laid out on the dining room table and test-fitted with removable tape, then the 28 sheets taped together more permanently with packing tape. Finally, you'll see some cut-out individual pieces.
A few things to point out: My printer did not print the last inch at the bottom - I had to tape on 4 more sheets of paper and draw it by hand. Also, you will see where I had to cut off some of the overlapped paper to reveal important sewing terms (like "fold") on the next sheet. Also, the online ordering instructions say to expect an email with a link to download the PDF but no email arrived at my end. I did find the pattern waiting for me in "My Account," though. Finally, heed the designer's warning to read the instructions often and carefully because even a garment this simple was not constructed the same way we make them today.
Next up: Where do you get historically accurate cloth?
In case you were planning a genealogy research trip to the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., be aware that it is closed until April 1, at which time the executive board will reassess the status. The National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) - everywhere, including the Presidential Libraries around the nation - is also closed to the public. The Library of Congress (LOC) is closed for in-person research at least until April 1. The Maryland State Archives in Annapolis is closed for public research. In Baltimore, the Maryland Historical Society is also closed to the public until April 1, as of their latest announcement. If you planned to go to a courthouse in Maryland, check this link to see their current status. Some of you may belong to one of the lineage societies that meet in Washington, D.C. each April and I urge you to see if your meeting is still being held. If your event is still "on" and you were thinking of researching in other nearby states, this is a reminder to check at the state, county, city levels and with the individual historical societies. In the meantime, stay healthy.
If you are planning a visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, they have posted an online notice that they closed Friday, March 13 at 5:00 pm "until further notice" due to the Corona Virus, or COVID-19. A source with the Arizona Council of Professional Genealogists (AzCPG) reports that the Arizona family history "libraries" associated with the SLC library are also closed. It is not clear to me whether this refers to the family history centers at local LDS churches or some actual libraries elsewhere. (AzCPG has cancelled its April 4 annual meeting, too.) As of today (Saturday, 3.14.20) the West Valley Genealogical Society in Youngtown, AZ is open. They post updates as downloadable PDFs on their home page and the March 12 PDF says they have cancelled the new member meet & greet scheduled for March 23rd and their April membership meeting.
With all the craziness in the news, manufacturing stress for everyone in every walk of light, I heard a suggestion for a way to mellow out a bit and thought I'd pass it along. I listen to a network of 168 U.S. Catholic radio stations called "Relevant Radio" - download the app if you aren't within listening distance of an affiliate station - and some of their programming is useful for putting your mind back into a quieter place. The programs I listen to are the Patrick Madrid Show (apologetics, history, general advice about life's problems), the Father Simon Says Show (if you are into linguistics he is full of historical analysis of Biblical translations), and St. Joseph's Workshop (with a priest who strikes me as Mr. Rogers in a Roman collar.) Patrick takes phone-in questions during his morning programming but shows are repeated in the evening or at night so there's always someone there with a calming approach, 24/7. Those particular Relevant Radio hosts are definitely not a tent revival crowd and are full of interesting historical information that takes my mind off other things. The picture below is the icon for their app to help you find it at your app store. Just an idea...think about turning off the ranting station you may listen to (especially if the ranting is corona virus hysteria or presidential politics) and give Relevant Radio a try.
What we got was an invitation addressed to "resident" with a household identifying number and then we went online and filled out the actual questionnaire. We must be on the "short version" list because it asked only the name, birthdate, relationship to each other, race, and specific background such as Irish, Polish, etc. No citizenship question on our version. It also asked if our abode was paid for, if we anticipated having anyone else in our household on April 1, and any of us would NOT be home that day. (This is to avoid double counting anyone.) There was a reminder on the envelope that participation is required by federal law and the letter indicated that if you don't go online to respond they will mail a paper form and if need be send an enumerator to your door. So, it didn't hurt at all. Please do participate when your invitation arrives.
In case you are not a member but are planning to visit NEHGS HQ in quarantined Boston this month, you will need to change your plans. This from their website (americanancestors.org) March 12th, as of 1:24 pm Mountain Standard Time:
To help ensure the health and safety of our members, visitors, and staff, effective at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 13, 2020 we will suspend all in-person programming through March 31, 2020 and we will suspend research hours at our library and Jewish Heritage Center beginning at 5 p.m. EDT, Friday, March 13, 2020 until 9 a.m. EDT, Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
We will continue to plan for, and adapt to, changing circumstances, as merited, and we will communicate with you via email and our website, as more information becomes available. Information will be regularly updated on AmericanAncestors.org/coronavirus. Registrants for programs scheduled during our building closure period will receive specific communications directly from program staff.
During this health crisis, the safest way to take part in our activities will be through our website at AmericanAncestors.org where we offer a huge array of records, online programs, video lectures, and many special features. We encourage your use of our website until this health crisis has subsided. During this time, our dedicated staff will be working remotely and we remain available to help you with your family history endeavors by telephone, email, and videoconference.
If you have questions about access to services, please contact our Member Services team at 1-888-296-3447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It closes with best wishes from NEHGS President & CEO, Brenton Simons.
Note from your MayflowerFaces.com webmaster: If you are not already an NEHGS member, this is your excuse to join now. Particularly if you do a lot of genealogical research related to the Northeastern U.S., membership is priceless. At $94.95 per year it is the biggest genealogical bargain going.
Best wishes to everyone in Boston.
Dr. Maura Mackowski is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
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