Glenna Jo & Bill Christen's
Presentations and Works-In-Progress
Thank you for your interest in our work. This is just a small sampling of our current projects relating to life in the mid 19th century. Hyperlinks take you to more detailed pages when available. We hope you find the information you are looking for here. If not, please let us know. We just may already have the information you want or perhaps we can help you find it.
If you or your organization would like to have either or both of us as speakers, please contact us to discuss your needs and our availability. We are offer short presentations on specific topics as well as all day or all weekend workshops designed specifically for your needs and interests. We have also mounted museum displays of items from our collection of original clothing and accessories. Our fees depend on your distance from our home in S.E. Michigan, the type of program and the nature of your organization.
National Civil War conferences & reenactments, museums, Civil War Round Tables, genealogy & historical societies, garden & literary clubs, public & private schools & scouting groups.
Some of the places we have spoken include:
For longer programs on clothing we can bring a full array of original garments and accessories for closer examination. We can also bring books and literally thousands of original photographs taken during the Civil War, as well as a selection of pictures taken before and after that period to use for comparison. We will be happy to arrange for specific programs to accomodate your group's needs and interests. We hope to hear from some of you soon.
Glenna Jo's Projects & Presentations:
"Dressed For The War: Women's Day Wear 1861-1865"
(Also an illustrated Powerpoint presentation.)
Hair & Headwear Underpinnings Dresses Footwear<> Bodices Sleeves Skirts
Outlines of what women typically wore during the Civil War era, based on studies of period
photographs, original garments, period sewing manuals, newspaper ads, letters & diaries.
Text and original photographs focusing on specific aspects of women's dresses.
> "Up Close and Personal: Examining Original Garments"
(Custom designed, hands on workshop for smaller groups)
Either or both Bill & Glenna Jo will give an overview of the type of garments being studied, then give participants step by step 'tours' of original garments. This workshop can be tailored to your specific interests, needs as well as time and space constraints. We will bring a selection of original garments from our collections for study; either specific type of garment such as dresses, wrappers, suits, vests, etc., or a range of garments worn from the skin out and from head to foot.
<>Our Collections and Archives page includes more discussion on the clothing & accessories shown in the men's and women's photos we have on that page. Check it out!>
"Dressing for the Weather"
Find out some of the ways people in the mid-19th century dealt with heat, cold, wet and other inclement weather conditions. (Original garments can be brought for display in approriate venues.)
"Bring Warm Clothes: Outerwear for Women"
(An illustrated Powerpoint presentation)
Learn the many ways women found to look both stylish and warm in cold weather as well as fashionable even in hot weather. (Original garments can be brought for display in approriate venues.)
"Sheerly Beautiful: Warm Weather Dresses (illustrated Powerpoint presentation)
Sheer dresses were worn by women of all ages, in the North and in the South, by ladies of leisure as well as working women. (Original garments can be brought for display in approriate venues.)
<> How to Gauge:
How-to directions for what is now call 'cartridge pleating,' This was a typical method used to
gather children's dresses, some women's everyday dresses and fancy aprons. Also included are directions for 'stroked gathers', a variation of this technique used for plain aprons, petticoats, etc.
She is also available for hands on workshops. (Original garments can be brought to see examples of the finished results.)
"Weeping Sad and Lonely: Mourning In America"
An overview of mourning practices during the Civil War years. (Original items can be brought for display in approriate venues.) >
"Mind Your Manners! A Checklist of 19th Century Etiquette"
(Also an illustrated PowerPoint presentation on the history of Manners in America through the 1860s)
Good manners were critical to success and acceptance in everyday life in the ninteenth century. Many of the social 'rules' of this period are still considered polite behavior today (even if too often ignored). Other social rules of the era may surprise you in how they have changed over time. The information found on this page should be a good start on learning period social rules. They certainly had many more than are included here.
How and why our traditions of Christmas were created and how the holiday was celebrated in the middle years of the 19th century and beyond. "Keeping" Christmas is surprisingly modern.
An overview of typical children's wear of the mid-ninteenth century. Yes, little boys wore dresses until they were 'breeched, but what else did both boys and girls wear? (Original garments can be brought for display in approriate venues.)
<> "In a Family Way: Pregnancy in the Mid 19th Century"
><> A challenging subject to document, but one of particular interest to reenacting women who are >'expecting a little stranger', as well as of general interest to others. This presentation covers 19thcentury attitudes toward pregnancy, along with the clothing women wore while pregnant and for post partum wear. (Original garments can be brought for display in approriate venues.)
Bill's Projects & Presentations:
(All of these topics are available as presentations for those who cannot wait for the books.)
A Biography of Civil War spy Pauline Cushman:
After over thirteen years of researching the life and times of this nineteenth-century actress and Civil War spy, Bill's biography of her life has been published by Edinborough Press. Click on the "Pauliene Cushman" link above for ordering information and a link to a web site that will allow readers and researchers to discuss the book and future research.
A Day-by Day Journal of the experiences of the men who enlisted in Seventeenth Michigan Infantry:
An accumulation of information about this regiment has been in progress since Bill and his co-author's early history of the famous Michigan military unit, Stonewall Regiment, was published in 1986. Bill has created a database that includes all the information found in Volume 17 of the Michigan Adjutant General's Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers (commonly known as the "brown book") and the Roster of the Seventeenth Regiment Michigan Infantry Association published by the regiment's veterans in 1901. The next steps are the development of a daily muster roll and cataloging the daily activity of the regiment based on letters, diaries, journals, official reports and newspaper accounts. that have accumulated in three file cabinets and numerous computer disks. Photographs of the men (before, during and after the war) are being catalogued along biographical information. Descendants of the regiment's soldiers are encouraged to join is the research process as all information is freely exchanged.
A History of the Battle of Fox's Gap and Turner's Gap (South Mountain, Maryland, Sept. 1862):
Bill is working with Todd Livesey of Chicago to develop a detailed chronology and interactive study of this important battle at the start of the 1862 Maryland Campaign. It is an offshoot of the Seventeenth Michigan Infantry research.
A Study of Men's Clothing in the 1860:
A prototype of the book, The Uniform of the Citizen, is under development by Bill and Phillip Whiteman (Bill's partner in the Aurora Clothing Collection). It will be a guide to the basic construction theories of men's clothing during the 1860s. In the meantime, Bill has a matrix on men's clothing that you may find helpful. Send an e-mail request for a hard copy or go to Notes on Men's Clothing.
A History of the Fortieth Indiana Infantry based on the Letters of
Private William C. Cook of Miami County, Indiana:
Glenna Jo and Bill have transcribed the letters of this Indiana soldier and hope to publish them with annotations. One day, with the help of Mark Jaeger of Lafayette, Indiana, this material will be added to a regimental history of this unit.
A History of the Forty-first Ohio Infantry:
Pauline Cushman's first husband, Charles C. Dickinson, was a member of the Forty-first Ohio's regimental band. Bill added this regiment to his list of Civil war research projects. He is particularly interested in find a photograph of the band, band members or it leader, Jackson Leland of Cleveland, Ohio.
A History of the Twenty-third Kentucky (US) Infantry:
The Twenty-third Kentucky is another regiment of interest based on connections to the Western Theatre and the battles of Perryville and Stones River.
Dating Nineteenth-century Photographs (either Bill or Glenna Jo):
Valuable information for costume researchers as well as genealogists. How to date photographs by the physical photograph as well as the image itself. Bill's matrix for dating period photographs can be found on-line at The City Gallery website.
Return to Curiosity Shop Home Page.
Visit Mrs. Christen's Miscellanea to see what Glenna Jo has for sale.
Visit our Collection and Archives page for more photos & info on mid 19th century clothing.
Go to Our Favorite Links for links to pages on historic photography, our reenacting groups, &c.
Any further questions or answers? Send us an e-mail message: firstname.lastname@example.org
This page was updated 6 June 2006.