Tag Archives: Fashion

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Rockford & Interurban Railway on unknown Rockford street. A trolley car is at left.

Rockford & Interurban Railway on unknown Rockford street. A trolley car is at left.

This December, Rockford has certainly not seen as much snow fall as it did one year ago, and so this snowy, winter-y entry seems less appropriate.  However, some of us (such as your humble author!) have a higher tolerance for the glittery snowflakes before Christmas than after the new year. Let’s see if we will be treated to a white Christmas this year.

As the weather grows colder, most of us bundle up in big coats, hats, scarves, and gloves or mittens, just like those before us did one hundred years ago.  Here are a few examples of what men and women wore during these blustery winter months.

Ear muffs from Rockford High School, c. 1930. Go RABs! (RAB refers to the school colors, red and black, and was the nickname for school.)

Ear muffs from Rockford High School, c. 1930. Go RABs!
(RAB refers to the school colors, red and black, and was the nickname for school.)

Men's gloves 1920s

Gentleman’s gloves and formal overcoat c. 1920s, perfect for an evening at the theater!

 

Men's overcoat 1920s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies gloves 1920s

 

 

Ladies' fur hat 1920s

Lady’s rabbit fur-trimmed gloves, fur hat, and mink-collar coat, c. 1920s

Lady’s rabbit fur-trimmed gloves, fur-lined hat, and mink-collar coat,  c. 1920s.

 

This decorative pink satin coat was worn by a truly fashionable lady around 1890-1900.

This decorative pink satin coat was worn by a truly fashionable lady around 1890-1900.

Note the exquisite bead and embroidery detail under the collar.

Note the exquisite bead and embroidery detail under the collar.

Enjoy some winter scenes from Rockford’s past!

Cheery winter scene at a Rockford home, c. 1920s.

Cheery winter scene at a Rockford home, c. 1920s.

Skaters on the pond at Sinnissippi Park, c. 1920s

Skaters on the pond at Sinnissippi Park, c. 1920s

Winter at Camp Grant, 1917. The soldiers made their own winter fun by building a snow hill to ski and sled down.

Winter at Camp Grant, 1917. The soldiers made their own winter fun by building a snow hill to ski and sled down.

 

Do you love snow as much as this happy boy? He is believed to be Talcott Williams, c. early 1920s.

Do you love snow as much as this happy boy? He is believed to be Talcott Williams, c. early 1920s.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Midway Village Museum!

1909 Christmas postcard

1909 Christmas postcard

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Second Star to the Right, and Straight on Till Morning!

Our next event is sure to bring out all of the spooks and ghouls – Saturday, October 25 is All Hallow’s Eve at Midway Village! This year, J.M. Barrie’s classic characters in Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up come to life in our haunted woods!

The stage play was first performed on December 27, 1904 at Duke of York’s Theatre in London. Nina Boucicault was first cast to play Peter Pan, and Maude Adams famously played the impish boy in the 1905 Broadway production. This tradition of an adult woman starring as Peter has continued for over one hundred years. The play introduced its audiences to the name ‘Wendy,’ as well as to children’s literature which was still in its infancy.

Peter Pan’s adventures in Never Land take us back to our childhood fantasies of pirates, mermaids, Indians, and fairies. Over time, these figures have evolved in their meaning and place within our culture.  Today, many recognize Peter Pan as the red-headed boy in the 1953 Disney animated film. Fairies are also associated with Disney-inspired design, although Tinker Bell was first represented as a flash of light and tinkle of a bell.  What kinds of ephemera would people have associated with the characters of Peter Pan one hundred years ago? How were fairies, pirates, and Native Americans depicted?

This 1870s teddy bear is much like the one Michael carries to Never Land.

This 1870s teddy bear is much like the one Michael carries to Never Land.

This Rockford-made collapsible top hat is similar to what John wears as he pretends to be his father. “A little less noise there!"

This Rockford-made collapsible top hat is similar to what John wears as he pretends to be his father.
“A little less noise there!”

This thimble is representative of the kiss that Wendy tries to give Peter. Thimbles are a must in any good sewing kit, especially at a time when most people made their own clothes.

This thimble is representative of the kiss that Wendy tries to give Peter. Thimbles are a must in any good sewing kit, especially at a time when most people made their own clothes.

This charming book may have been a favorite bedtime story for a child who loved whimsical tales. Published in 1903, it tells the story of a star fairy prince who falls in love with a princess on Earth.

This charming book may have been a favorite bedtime story for a child who loved whimsical tales. Published in 1903, it tells the story of a star fairy prince who falls in love with a princess on Earth.

Fairy Wings c. 1920s-30s

 

This handmade fairy costume, complete with wings, may have been a little girl’s Halloween costume or, more likely, costume for a play or recital in the 1920s-1930s.

This handmade fairy costume, complete with wings, may have been a little girl’s Halloween costume or, more likely, costume for a play or recital in the 1920s-1930s.

For the adventurous, only a pirate book will do! G.A. Henty’s historical fiction Among Malay Pirates, published in 1899, contains short stories set in Malaysia and Indonesia. During a time when travel was limited to the wealthy, this book could take any person across the seas and among the pirates!

For the adventurous, only a pirate book will do! G.A. Henty’s historical fiction Among Malay Pirates, published in 1899, contains short stories set in Malaysia and Indonesia. During a time when travel was limited to the wealthy, this book could take any person across the seas and among the pirates!

Children dressed as Native Americans during Rockford parade, c. 1905.

Children dressed as Native Americans during Rockford parade, c. 1905.

Child’s colorful, handmade headdress.

Child’s colorful, handmade headdress.

What of the crocodile, who took Captain Hook’s hand? Well, he’s become a pair of lady’s pumps. Made in Rockford in the 1960s. (Not real crocodile!)

What of the crocodile, who took Captain Hook’s hand? Well, he’s become a pair of lady’s pumps.
Made in Rockford in the 1960s. (Not real crocodile!)

 

All Hallow’s Eve at Midway Village Museum, 2014

Sat. October 25  2pm – 8pm

Admission: $6 for adults and children. Museum members and children under 3 are free!

Bring your family to “trick-or-treat” in safety at the charming Victorian Village.  Additional children’s activities and crafts will also be offered throughout the day.  The Woods opens at 4:30 pm.

All Hallow's Eve

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The 19th Century Does Black Friday

After the turkey and stuffing are gone and you’ve taken a snooze on the couch, you’re energized to rise before the sun, pull on your parka, and stand in front of that big box store to get the best deal on that Christmas present for your nephew.

The Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start of the Christmas season ever since the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924.  The tradition of Black Friday began in the 1960s.  The term refers to businesses moving from the ‘red’ to ‘black’ in their accounts.  Retailers realized that they drew large crowds with super sales on this day.

Which Rockford shops might you have visited one hundred years ago on Black Friday?  Here is a small selection.

Department Stores were just as popular back then as they are today!

88.122.374

88.122.375

Nordstrom’s, c. 1871

Owned by Gust and Josephine Nordstrom

No connection to today’s national Nordstrom’s chain.

85.109(I).642

Henry F. Norris art goods store, 1920s

221 East State Street

748.41.8

DJ Stewart Department Store, 1958

113-117 South Main Street

74.780.68

Marie N. Freberg’s Exclusive Millinery, c. 1910

514 7th Street

Window shopping at its finest!

81.29.118

Swanson Millinery, c. 1909-1913

404 East State Street

91.135.6a

J. Beale and Bro. Jewelry, c. 1900

406 East State Street

Looking for a sparkly rock or impressive timepiece for that special someone?  Head over to Beale’s Jewelry!

91.135.8

Joe and Art Beale can find something he or she will love!

83.114.3

Blomberg and Swenson Bakery, 1883-1891

603 7th Street

No time to bake?  Blomberg and Swenson will sell you delicious holiday treats!

85.109(I).738

Keigs Bakery, c. 1900-1910

405 State Street

Miss Ethel Shaw can help you pick out your Christmas cookies!

Midway Village Museum wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe and warm Black Friday!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

In Hallowe’en Fashion

There’s only one more day before Halloween – the time of year that represents a line between fall and winter, life and death.  It’s traditionally a day when spirits and ghouls roam the earth and we wear costumes to ward them off.

1920s-30s Paper Jack-O-Lantern Decorations

1920s-30s Paper Jack-O-Lantern Decorations

So – do you have a costume yet?

If not, don’t fret.  Here are some examples of the costumes worn by Rockfordians in the early twentieth century.

Halloween Costume

This Halloween dress was worn in 1905.  It has paper cutouts of little spooks pasted to the skirt.

Owl CostumeThis appears to be an owl costume from the 1920s.  A black owl cutout is stitched to the back of the jacket near the collar.  The hat has several other owl-shaped cutouts stitched to it.  The fringe mimics the feathers of an owl.

Spanish Costume

Gypsy Costume

These two costumes from the 1920s have gypsy or Spanish qualities to them.  The men’s costume appears similar to a matador’s outfit, although the amount of jingle-jangles on both outfits suggest more of a gypsy feel.

Hopefully with these suggestions from the past, you too can whip up a wonderful Halloween costume to frighten off the spooks!

Happy Hallowe’en!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Women in Wartime: Nursing

Lt. Marilyn Cedarleaf

Lt. Marilyn Cedarleaf

Marilyn Cedarleaf, the daughter of Swedish immigrants, was born in Rockford in 1921.  She trained as a nurse at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago and graduated in 1943.  In 1945, at the age of 24, she went with a friend to the Red Cross on Wabash Ave. to get information about joining the war effort.  Marilyn wasn’t sure that she wanted to go, but she got a hard sell from the recruiter and signed up that day.  Social pressures of wartime often influenced volunteers for service.

Marilyn went to basic training at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin, then Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania, and lastly at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey.  She and a friend from Camp McCoy stuck together throughout their service.

Nurses Training at Camp McCoy

Nurses Training at Camp McCoy

Nurses Training at Camp McCoy

Nurses Training at Camp McCoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photos courtesy of Lieutenant General Richard R. Taylor’s Medical Training in World War II.  Medical Department, United States Army)

After basic training, they and 200 other nurses set sail for Europe.  Marilyn described the trip as scary.  They had to turn their lights off at night, and one time she got in trouble for having her porthole open.  Their ship landed in Scotland on May 8, 1945 – VE Day.  They went to England to receive their assignments before heading back to Glasgow to a general hospital to treat soldiers.  Many of those Marilyn treated were POWs, which she remembered as being a very sad time. They cared for a train load of wounded every day or two.

Marilyn’s nursing uniform with cap.

Marilyn’s nursing uniform with cap.

After the hospital closed, she went to France from hospital to hospital, moving around by ambulance.  In Marseilles, she was getting ready to go to China but her orders were cancelled when the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan.  Instead, she was sent to Belgium before being discharged as a First Lieutenant.

Marilyn’s dress uniform.

Marilyn’s dress uniform.

These decorative pitchers are made from bullet and shell casings and represent trench art.  Trench art dates back to the Napoleonic Wars, but is most often found from the World War I.  This type of art is directly linked to armed conflict.  Marilyn’s trench art, seen below, was made in Belgium and commemorates the places she traveled during her service.

Scotland, England, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Holland, 1945-1946

Scotland, England, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Holland, 1945-1946

Lt. Ruth M. Cedarleaf 12th Field House

Lt. Ruth M. Cedarleaf
12th Field House

WWII Trench Art 2

Glasgow, London, Paris (1945 inscribed on back) and Geneva, Le Mans, Liege (1946 on inscribed on back)

Glasgow, London, Paris (1945 inscribed on back) and Geneva, Le Mans, Liege (1946 on inscribed on back)

Become a Nurse

Upcoming Event!!!  World War II Days

Saturday, September 21, 2013  11 am – 5 pm

Sunday, September 22, 2013  11 am – 4 pm

Midway Village Museum hosts the largest World War II era re-enactment in the United States with over 1,000 uniformed re-enactors from 40 states representing soldiers from the United States, Great Britain, France, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Japan, Italy and Germany along with vintage tanks, halftracks and other 1940s era military vehicles!

World War II Days includes elaborate and realistic battles complete with tanks, artillery, armored vehicles, and exciting pyrotechnic displays. Saturday the battle shows are featured at 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Sunday the battle time is 2:30 pm. Maps of the event site will be available when visitors arrive showcasing the battlefield and the various encampments and attractions. The event will be held rain or shine.

 One Day Admission Cost

$12 adults; $6 for children (3 to 17); and free for World War II veterans and Museum Members

Two Day Pass Cost
Two day event passes are $18 for adults; $9 for children (there is too much to see it all in just one day!)

For more information on event details, click here: https://midwayvillagemuseumcollections.wordpress.com/tag/military/

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

An Apple a Day

Living on the prairie in Rockford’s early days meant enduring hardship, and when sickness or injury came to a settler, a messenger was sent for the local doctor.  In 1846, malarial fever spread throughout the community, making physicians very busy.  They would travel several miles, even to Roscoe and Stillman’s Run.  Dr. Archibald Catlin, who had arrived in 1838, never turned down a night call, sometimes riding with the messenger who came for him.  He even rode piggy-back style on one messenger to cross the flooded Kishwaukee River to reach a patient.

In 1883, dedicated physicians like Dr. Catlin organized a committee with the mission of establishing Rockford’s first hospital.  The need for a hospital was heavily influenced by the city’s industrial growth, as dangerous factory machines caused severe injury.  By 1884, by-laws and a constitution for the hospital were created.  They founded the hospital in Dr. William Fitch’s home, located at Chestnut and South Court Streets.  The house was renovated for only $1000, and Rockford Hospital opened on October 1, 1885 with 15 patient beds and a physician staff of 8.  One hundred cases were handled within its first year of operation.  In its first four years, the patients were mostly single, immigrant men in their 20s and 30s.

Dr. Fitch’s former home facing Chestnut St. in fornt, addition in rear.

It took the people of the community a little while to get used to the new hospital.  They were afraid that a hospital would spread disease.  In 1881, small pox struck Rockford, infecting 23 people and killing 3.  In a panic, neighborhoods barricaded streets near affected areas.  One house of a victim was burned to the ground so that it could not be used as a pesthouse.  Pesthouses, used for quarantine, were usually located out of town.  But the hospital was centrally located, and many people feared that those with contagious diseases would be admitted.

On March 6, 1888, Rockford Hospital’s new addition was opened.  The three-story brick building behind Dr. Fitch’s old house had an operating room, patient rooms, living quarters for the Superintendent of Nurses, a kitchen, doctor’s office, and a “dead room,” which opened into the alley where bodies could be removed discreetly.  The cost was $1 per day for a single room and $5 per week for a bed in a ward.  In 1903, Dr. Fitch’s house was removed, and a new building was built.  The building across the street was purchased and turned into the nurses’ residence hall.

1920s photos of Rockford Hospital staff

When Rockford Hospital first opened, it had a small nursing staff that was supervised by Matron Jane Smith.  These women were trained in cooking and patient care, but there was no medical training available to them.  In 1887, Elizabeth Glenn finished her training at Cook County Hospital and replaced Jane Smith as Superintendent of Nurses.  With her progressive ideas on the education of nurses, she began a training school with women already employed at the hospital in July of 1888.  The Rockford Training School for Nurses was incorporated one year later.  The training involved lectures given by the doctors on anatomy, physiology, and “material medica.”  The curriculum also included applying poultices, cups, leaches, bandages, and splints, cooking for the sick, making patient observations and reporting conditions to the physician, as well as “proper administration of enemas and the use of catheter, and the proper method of applying friction to the body and extremities.”  Sophia Carlson and Melanie Calliot were the first to graduate with a formal ceremony on December 19, 1889. Shortly after, the program was extended to 2 years, and then to 3 years in 1912.  Blue and gold were chosen as the school colors, and a red rose was the school flower.

In the 1800s, the nursing uniform consisted of a long sleeve dress with starched collar and starched apron or pinafore, and the cap was kept in place with ties under the chin.  By covering the entire body, excluding hands and the face, these uniforms were considered “fever proof.”  In 1902, uniforms changed to white dresses with blue stripes and a square-topped apron with an organdy cap held in place with pins.  In 1907, a white cotton cap was introduced.  Every class of nursing students wore their caps in a certain position on their heads.  In the 1930s, Rockford Hospital nurses wore short-sleeved blue dresses with wide aprons, as seen below.

1936 Rockford Hospital Nursing Uniform worn by Ruth Sarver

Between 1941 and 1942, Rockford Hospital became Rockford Memorial Hospital.  In July 1954, the hospital moved to its present location on North Rockton Ave. where it remains in operation today.

The Village is now open for tours!

Step inside our replica of Rockford Hospital as it would have looked in 1885!  Visit our other 22 original and reproduction buildings with an interpreter dressed in turn-of-the-century attired as your guide.

Click here for hours and admission: http://www.midwayvillage.com/wordpress/planning-a-visit/admission/

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy 235th Birthday, U.S. of A!

Every Fourth of July, we celebrate our independence as a free nation.    Most of us keep up with traditions like fireworks and watermelon, parades and potato salad.  We celebrate the inalienable rights as U.S. citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We celebrate the opportunity that this country gives to those who come here seeking a better life for themselves and their family.  What makes this country great is that we all have this background somewhere in our history, and we all can be proud to share this country.

One Rockford woman used her superb sewing skills to celebrate her adopted country.  Velia Marinelli, an Italian immigrant, created a dress in 1960 to express her love for the land that embraced her.  The satin dress is hand sewn with a red and white striped bodice and a blue skirt with fifty white appliqué stars.

In October of 1960, after completing the dress,Velia immediately applied for a patent for her original ornamental design.  The patent was signed on January 9, 1962.  The patent and Velia’s design can be viewed here:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=6W5yAAAAEBAJ&zoom=4&dq=velia%20marinelli&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false

The star-spangled dress was worn in one or two Rockford Fourth of July parades during the 1960s.  It was then put away into storage.

Velia Blanchi was born on June 12, 1912 in Ferentino, Italy, which is about thirty miles from Rome.  She learned to sew at a convent school when she was five.  Her high standards were modeled after the nuns who taught her, whom she described as being very strict. Velia first sold a dress she made at age 11.

Velia’s older brother had a close friend named Leonard Marinelli.  As a naturalized U.S.citizen, Leonard divided his time between school in Rockford and family in Italy.  The two became enamored with each other and on Velia’s 18th birthday, she and Leonard were married.  That same day in 1930 the newlyweds boarded the S.S. Augustus and sailed to the U.S.

Velia did not speak English but was determined to learn.  When enrolling in an English course at the adult education night school, the woman she spoke with realized her sewing abilities and helped her become a sewing teacher for the Board of Education.  She taught this class for 18 years.  When she left the program, she bought ten sewing machines and taught classes from her home four nights a week. Velia taught these classes, “Sewing without a Pattern,” for a total of forty years.  In addition to making her own clothes, she sewed garments for local residents.  She created countless wedding gowns for brides as well as habits for nuns and vestments for priests and bishops, including Bishop emeritus Arthur O’Neill.

Velia obtained her citizenship in 1938. The beautiful gown that Veila made to show her pride in her new country sat in storage until 1999 when her family brought it back into the limelight.  That year, family members offered the dress to be part of a holiday display in the window of Possession Placers Estate Exchange, located at 215 East State Street.  It was spotted by Joe Marino, Rockford’s Mr. Fourth of July, who pulled some strings and got the dress to play a major role in the Fourth of July parade.  It was worn by Jefferson High School senior Carina Hilstad. Velia, at age 87, rode in a convertible as honorary parade marshal.

Keeping with the parade’s theme “Let Freedom Ring,” Carina rang a replica of the Liberty Bell that had been housed at the former Colonial Village Mall on Alpine Road.  This bell is currently on display outside of MidwayVillage Museum next to the entrance doors.  The bell is an exact replica of the original Philadelphia.  It was cast in the same mold at the same foundry, Whitechapel Bell Foundry inLondon, England, in 1976.  Only 7 are known to exist in the United States.

Velia used her exceptional talent to express her affection for the opportunities the United States gave her and her family.  She told the Rockford Register Star: “I love the United States…  You can have anything you want over here, if you work.”

 

Upcoming Event!!! 

Afternoon with the American Pickers – A Benefit at Midway Village Museum

This Saturday, July 9th, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, hosts of the History Channel’s American Pickers, will entertain audiences at Midway Village Museum from 11 am to 5 pm.  Guests can also enjoy an antique flea market, blacksmith demonstrations, a car and motorcycle show, architectural and garden talks, and more.

For more details and to purchase tickets online, click here: http://www.midwayvillage.com/event_calendar.cfm?id=1058

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized