Monday, May 23, 2022

An Alcott Research Roundup

A highlight of my winter was spending a couple of hours on Zoom with Jamie (an old friend) and Jill (a brand new friend), nerding out about research, historic house museums, 19th century fashion, and Alcott's novels. Today, some of that conversation will be appearing in season two of their fantastic podcast Let Genius Burn. In honor of that conversation, I wanted to revisit a few projects I've done over the years inspired by the Alcotts and/or Orchard House.

playing May Alcott or Ellen Emerson during the 2012 christmas program

Pickled Limes
In Little Women, Amy ends up in trouble at school because she brings pickled limes to class - something her teacher had banned because they were so popular and the girls kept trading them and not paying attention. I love historical food, so it's no wonder this has always stuck with me. But it's also such a familiar elementary school experience that it's just a favorite passage for me in general...maybe because I grew up in the era of pokemon cards and snap bracelets, both of which were banned in my own classrooms. (And which we also snuck in anyways!)

You can follow my research and experiments so far here. Plus, this one is ongoing! I'm about to start a new batch that will build on what I learned last time, and change some variables I didn't have a chance to try in 2020. 

Dancing in Little Women
My historical dance research is often driven by a specific reference from 19th century letters, journals, or novels - I love digging into what a dance mentioned by name might have looked like in the ballroom. And having spent so much time with the Alcotts and their friends, I reference their writings a lot when doing dance research! A few years ago I spent some time diving into Little Women specifically to explore what dances are mentioned, and how they fit into the story. 

Orchard House Centennial Lemon Coconut Pie
This is an oldie (and unfortunately the image seems to have gone away), but delicious! I worked at Orchard House during the museum's centennial in 2012, and shared this recipe (which I brought to share) from the year of the museum's opening.

And yes: it was very weird to be at the house in a time period other than 1860s!

Germans and Rose in Bloom
Many of Alcott's novels mention dancing - not just Little Women! Eight Cousins and the sequel Rose in Bloom are actually my favorite of Alcott's childrens' novels, so I tend to think about them a lot. I referenced a particular section of Rose in Bloom that discusses "germans" after we had one of our own.

Other Topics
In addition to the truly Alcott-themed posts above, my 1860s dress posts touch on different facets of Boston in the 1860s that overlap with when the Alcotts lived here. A few of particular interest might be:

Thanks for stopping by! Putting this together was a walk through the last 10 years of historically-inspired adventures, and I look forward to sharing many more.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for putting links to all the topics in one spot: it was fun to read through them and am looking forward to hearing more of the pickled limes experimenting. Finally the brief video at the end is a delight, like a music box scene at Christmas...