Historic Deerfield Presents Virtual Spring Forum,
"Invisible Makers: Textiles, Dress, and Marginalized People in 18th- and 19th-Century America"

DEERFIELD, MA (February 22, 2021) - Historic Deerfield will present a virtual forum, "Invisible Makers: Textiles, Dress, and Marginalized People in 18th- and 19th-Century America," on Saturday, April 10, 2021 from 9:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. ET.

Globalized manufacturing in the 21st century has stimulated a greater need to understand where, how, by whom, and under what conditions our clothing is made. In the past, the weaving of textiles and making of everyday clothing has largely been perceived as anonymous, most especially with regard to marginalized people living in white societies. Research into the efforts of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color to design, produce, acquire, and modify textiles and dress within the Anglo-European, North American framework has historically been difficult to quantify because of a paucity of surviving evidence as well as limited attempts both past and present to record and credit those efforts. This forum details contributions of often-overlooked populations in American society to the textile and clothing trades, and promises to enrich and deepen current conversations about fashion both past and present.

Join Historic Deerfield on April 10th to hear lectures from a dynamic roster of academic and museum professionals discussing examples of the important roles and contributions of BIPOC textile and clothing producers and consumers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Presented as case studies, the research includes textiles and clothing produced by forced labor within plantations; people of color working as tailors and dressmakers in Massachusetts; and marginalized people who fashioned their dressed bodies using Anglo-European garments in ways that both subverted normative styles while expressing “other” cultural identities.

Speakers and Topics:

Keynote Lecture
“Someone Knows My Name: A Framework for Researching the Lives and Experiences of Under-represented Craftspeople in Early America,”
Dr. Tiffany Momon, Assistant Professor of History, University of the South, and founder, Black Craftspeople Digital Archive

Panel 1: The Fabric of Enslaved Labor
“From Home Spun to Household Industry: Textiles in the Archives of the William Floyd Estate on Long Island,” Dr. Jennifer L. Anderson, Stony Brook University (SUNY)

“‘Rachel made Moses a scarlet waistcoat’: The Contributions of Enslaved Women to Clothing Production at Rose Hill Plantation, 1814-1845,” Dr. Ann Buermann Wass, Independent Researcher

Panel 2: Fashioning an Appearance as Negotiation and Self-Expression
“Luxury Slaves, Negro Governors, and Jim Crow: Black Dandy Beginnings,” Dr. Monica L. Miller, Professor of Africana Studies and English, Barnard College, Columbia University

"‘A boy’s shirt for Waghrosra’s wife’s son’: the global history of an early American Indigenous trade garment.” Dr. Laura Johnson, Linda Eaton Associate Curator of Textiles, Winterthur Museum, Gardens, & Library, and Affiliated Assistant Professor, University of Delaware

Panel 3: Following the Threads of Dressmaking and Tailoring
“‘Dresses set beautiful’: Black Craftswomen in the Nineteenth-Century Connecticut Valley,” Dr. Marla R. Miller, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“Behind the Seams: Enslaved Labor in the 1770s Boston Tailoring Trade,”
David E. Lazaro, Curator of Textiles, Historic Deerfield

Registration Information:
This program will be presented live via Zoom webinar. The link to the webinar will be sent to registrants prior to the event. Recordings will be available to registrants for a period of two weeks after each session.

The cost for the webinar is $60 ($50 for members), $85 for new members* (*includes membership) and $45 for students. Register online at www.historic-deerfield.org. For more information, contact Julie Orvis at jorvis@historic-deerfield.org or (413) 775-7179.

About Historic Deerfield, Inc.
Historic Deerfield is a museum of early American life situated in an authentic 18th-century New England village in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts. Its historic houses and world-famous collection of early American decorative arts open doors to new perspectives that inspire people to seek a deeper understanding of themselves, their communities, and the world.

Media Contact:
Laurie Nivison
Director of Marketing
(413) 775-7127