James McPherson & the Civil War


Libraries in Lackawanna County are focusing on the Civil War through the month of October, gearing up for a special event. Get your tickets at any Lackawanna County library today to see James McPherson at the Scranton Cultural Center on Thursday, November 5 at 7PM. James McPherson is one of America’s chief interpreters of the Civil War. Hear his theory about why peace negotiations to end the Civil War in 1864 and 1865 failed and why the war could end only with unconditional victory or unconditional surrender by one side or the other.

Victorians from all walks of life loved to dress up in costume, or “fancy dress”, for parlour games, theatricals and balls. Costumes were made at home, or among the upper classes, by dressmakers and even couturiers, at great expense.

This costume, representing “Autumn” is a reproduction ca. 1860. Allegorical costumes, such as those representing the Four Seasons were very popular for fancy dress, as were representations of the Queen of Spades, Hearts, Clubs, or Diamonds. Shepherdesses and Scottish ladies in highland dress were greatly admired. Gentlemen appeared as Caesars, Knights, and Jesters.

The skirt on this costume is very short for the period, and would have only been worn at this length for a Fancy Dress party or ball. Short skirts were permissible for such events, at a time when ladies wore their skirts just inches above the floor, providing an opportunity to show off a shapely calf above a dainty silk boot!

Thank you to Bridget Conlogue for the loan of this gorgeous, handmade outfit on display at the Library.

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