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Event Details

Reading Between the Threads: An Exploration of the Language of Women's Textiles

March 16, 2019 2-3 PM
at Wyck

$20; Friends of Wyck $15; Students under 25 $10

It can be difficult to access women’s viewpoints in Early North American history, but textiles, needlepoint, medical texts, and recipe books provide unique insights. With these two, back-to-back lectures by Kelsey Salvesen and Tess Frydman, Wyck invites you to consider how women made masterful use of material culture to assert their opinions and to improve their experiences throughout history.

This program is suited for ages 10 to adult (all ages welcome to attend).

Kelsey Salvesen

"The Word Became Thread And Was Stitched Among Us: Gender, Empire, and Religion in Early North America"

In this lecture, Kelsey Salvesen looks at needlework as both practice and product and how it shaped and reflected the lives of girls and women in the 17th to 19th centuries. As stitchers grappled with ideas about faith, race, class, and personal and national identity, these struggles played out in their needlework. Items like embroidered samplers and other sources of stitched text--made by female hands, typically under female instruction and supervision, and circulated among networks of female friendship and descent--provide unique insight into how girls and young women thought about themselves and their places in their families, their communities, their faiths, and the wider world.

Tess Frydman

“America’s Bloody History: Menstruation Management in the Mid-Nineteenth Century.”

This lecture shines a light on the daily realities of managing menstruation before menstrual devices were available over-the-counter. It explores what women wore to absorb menstrual blood, how women shared solutions and stayed informed on best medical practices, and how they affectively responded to cultural conceptions of menstruation. Despite the scarcity of documentary sources describing menstrual practices, an analysis of surviving material evidence reveals the ways in which networks of women participated in an intimate menstrual culture in antebellum America

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