Tag Archives: Holidays

A 1953 Valentine Party

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we offer you this glimpse of Valentine’s Day 1953.

The photos, of Betty Peters’ 4th grade class at Henrietta School in Rockford, is part of Midway Village Museum’s photo collection and captures the students ready for their class Valentine’s Day party. Most students have homemade Valentines and boxes on their desks.

2010.73.30 - 100 dpi watermarked

Henrietta School was built in 1952 at 200 N. Johnston Ave. In more recent years the building was used for Head Start programming. Since 2012, the building, which has been owned by the City of Rockford, has been used for community meetings. In 2015 the City was in negotiations to sell the building to Carl E. Ponds Funeral Home.

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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

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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

 

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Preheat Oven to 350°

Have you been spending more time in your kitchen than any other room in your house?  Do you find yourself seeing strange shapes, like stars, angels, and snowmen?  Are your face, hair, and clothes covered in a generous dusting of flour?  Do you have a colorful selection of sprinkles that would make a rainbow jealous?  Then you’ve probably been busy making Christmas cookies!

Perhaps you’ve been making one of the most popular and traditional of Christmas cookies, the spritz.  German in origin, the spritz, or spritzgebäck, is a pressed cookie with a rich and buttery flavor.  Spritz presses come with discs of  varying designs, such as trees, wreaths, and flowers.

Late 19th Century Spritz Press

Late 19th Century Spritz Press

The discs are stored at the end of the press.  Due to age, the end is unable to be opened; however, several of the discs can be seen here.

The discs are stored at the end of the press. Due to age, the end is unable to be opened; however, several of the discs can be seen here.

This cookie press is likely from the 1940s-50s.  This press has a turn handle.

This cookie press is likely from the 1940s-50s. This press has a turn handle.

These vintage cookie cutters are unique.  An axe is at the left.  In the center are the playing card symbols: a spade, heart, club, and diamond.  A moon shaped cookie is at the right, as well as a biscuit cutter.

These vintage cookie cutters are unique. An axe is at the left. In the center are the playing card symbols: a spade, heart, club, and diamond. A moon shaped cookie is at the right, as well as a biscuit cutter.

Want to make your own spritz cookies?  Get inspired from these beautiful cookies here: Spritz Cookie Recipe

Happy Holidays from Midway Village Museum!  Time to get baking!

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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!

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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!

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Erin Go Bragh!

Ireland Forever!

It’s time to get out your green; St. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us!

1910s Postcard

1910s Postcard

The shamrock was considered a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it was symbolic of the rebirth of spring.  When England seized Irish land and made laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism in the 1600s, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their national pride in their heritage and rebellion against English rule.

1913 Postcard

1913 Postcard

Here are some facts about Irish Americans!

  • There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself.
  • Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.
  • Across the country, 11 percent of residents lay claim to Irish ancestry. That number more than doubles to 23 percent in the state of Massachusetts.
  • Irish is the most common ancestry in 54 U.S. counties, of which 44 are in the Northeast. Middlesex County in Massachusetts tops the list with 348,978 Irish Americans, followed by Norfolk County, MA, which has 203,285.
  • Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in every state except Hawaii and New Mexico. It is the leading ancestry group in Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
  • There are approximately 144,588 current U.S. residents who were born in Ireland.

Population data courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau and history.com.

1910 Postcard

1910 Postcard

Have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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