Monsters and Machines: Science Fiction in the Victorian Era

From Intern Nathan Keckley:

The Victorian era introduced many of the concepts, traditions, and inventions familiar to us today, from toilets to modern education. Science fiction is one of these inheritances. Science fiction – often called “speculative fiction” – permeates our society with countless television shows, films, video games, books, and comics. Like most genres, it has acquired a very specific style: gleaming spaceships traveling faster than light; human good guys and arthropod alien baddies; superhuman powers and beeping computer consoles. Sci-fi wasn’t always covered in chrome and hemolymph, however, and many Warsies and Trekkies might drop their bickering to gape in confusion at what was once considered part of the realm of “science fiction” by the Victorians. While the Victorians’ works may seem obsolete at first glance, however, in reality they are extremely contemporary and topical, and many of the ideas and tropes modern sci-fi concerns itself with were introduced by the Victorians. This essay will demonstrate the remarkable similarities of nineteenth century science fiction to that of our age.

While scholars have credited authors from the ancient to Medieval eras as “pioneers” of the science fiction genre, one of the most important works of literature to deal with fantastical elements in a scientific light was Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is often associated with that time period due to the 1931 film adaptation – yes, the black-and-white one you always watched on Halloween – which is set in what appears to be Oktoberfest in Victorian Busch Gardens. Though pop culture and this film have indelibly associated Frankenstein with Victorian Gothic, Shelley published her magnum opus in 1808 – nearly twenty years before the Victorian era.

Regardless of Frankenstein’s precise time period, it was a work that dealt with a very scientific (and, as is typical of science fiction, very speculative) idea: the creation of new life from non-life. It also deals with this idea in a scientific manner . . . sort of. Victor never actually reveals how he managed to animate his creation, only giving very vague descriptions of arcane and forbidden lore he has uncovered. This, of course, quite conveniently masks Shelley’s own lack of knowledge about anatomy and biology. In addition, this cover-up would set the precedent for modern sci-fi “techno-jargon.”[1]

Shelley’s work dealt heavily with life – specifically the creation and modification of it –and to what degree humans have a right to control and manipulate it. This weighty topic is brought up frequently in modern sci-fi franchises as well. Examples include the mentally-modified River from Firefly, the Cybermen from Doctor Who, and the entire premise of Jurassic Park. Star Trek’s Khan, with his Promethean role as the ultimate human, represents Victor’s most noble aspirations in the creation of his monster. Perhaps one of the most obvious similarities is Lieutenant Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Throughout the series, the android Data seeks to attain human emotions and feelings, mimicking the species as Victor’s monster does. Data’s nefarious twin, Lore, on the other hand, sees his physical and intellectual superiority to humans as a right to rule over them, embodying the most ignoble feelings of the monster.

While Frankenstein wasn’t technically Victorian, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde most certainly was. Published in 1886, Stevenson’s novella has now become as iconic as Frankenstein, and for similar reasons. Though it doesn’t deal with the creation of life itself, it deals with the various facets of that life. Like Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde features a protagonist with a medical background. The doctor’s serums showcase the Victorian fascination with the advancements made in modern chemistry, as well as identifying the dangerous Freudian consequences of the Victorians’ emphasis on restraint and suppression of baser, “bestial” instincts. With the advent of Freud and his work, this idea has perhaps become even more prevalent in our society than it was in Stevenson’s. Again, Star Trek’s writers drew heavily from Victorian literature like Jekyll & Hyde. Those who have lazily binged their way through the original Star Trek on a rainy weekend may recall one of the earliest episodes, “The Enemy Within.” In this episode, the transporter malfunctions (big surprise), splitting Captain Kirk into two entities: a wishy-washy loser who can barely stand on his own two feet, and a feral, violent beast who craves alcohol and sex (foreshadowing Wesley Crusher and Commander Riker, respectively).

Science-minded protagonists are, understandably, very common in science fiction. One of the most famous science fiction authors, H. G. Wells, featured the chemist Griffin in one of his works, The Invisible Man. Fitting the archetype of mad scientist to a tee, Griffin’s lust for scientific knowledge and the power accompanying it leads him into a downward spiral. In another of Wells’ works, The Island of Doctor Moreau, the titular vivisectionist lives in isolation on an island, stitching together animals, heedless of the consequences. This trope of the mad scientist continues to saturate science fiction well after the days of Frankenstein, Jekyll, Moreau, and Griffin. Sometimes they are well-meaning, sometimes megalomaniacal. Famous (or infamous) specimens include Einstein look-alike Doc Brown from the Back to the Future trilogy, Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor, and Dr. Wu,  Jurassic Park’s dinosaur-breeder extraordinaire, to name a few.

Wells also penned The Time Machine, in which . . . you guessed it! Someone finds a time machine.[2] The protagonist (identified only as The Time Traveler) travels into the future, where he encounters humanity’s future: a stunted, unhealthy species which has overrun the natural world with technology, rendering intellectual and physical exertion unnecessary and, as a result, obsolete. Naturally, Wells had the twenty-first century in mind when he wrote the novel. His book conveys a very cynical view of the future, compared to Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic utopia, in which everyone is fit, healthy, and can rock a jumpsuit. This idea of a feebler, stupider humanity has been reiterated in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and the Pixar film WALL-E. The Time Machine would set the precedent for many, many time-travel books, films, and television shows to come, including the Back to the Future trilogy, every other episode of the original Star Trek, and, perhaps most obviously, Doctor Who.

The Wells novel that takes the fake Portal cake is, however, The War of the Worlds. In this novel, Wells covers yet another huge trope of science fiction: aliens – specifically Martians – invading the Earth. This is brought up in countless films (Independence Day), shows (the Daleks of Doctor Who), and video games (Halo). On a less significant note, the Martian tripods may have been a very prototypical inspiration for the AT-AT and AT-ST walkers in the Star Wars saga. In addition to its initial success, The War of the Worlds received national fame in America on Halloween of 1938 when CBS aired a radio dramatization of the novel. Directed by Orson Welles, the program included quite realistic special effects – for the time at least. The majority of the broadcast was presented in the form of news bulletins and announcements. As a result, uninformed listeners tuning into the channel were greeted, apparently, with the news that Martians were invading Earth. Indeed, many listeners were not aware that the broadcast was fictional. It was not, as is sometimes sensationally put, a nation-wide crisis, but some areas did experience panic-stricken mobs, and the broadcast had to be shut down by the police, securing The War of the Worlds’ place in infamy.

There is one Victorian author who tops Wells, however, for sheer volume of literature, and that is Frenchman Jules Verne. Over the course of his prolific career, Verne would publish over fifty novels and plays, including Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mysterious Island, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Many of Verne’s novels are speculative adventure stories in which characters travel underground, in the deep sea, in balloons, on a comet, and to the moon in a rocket ship, to name a few. Verne’s settings include the core of the earth, the depths of the ocean, the lunar surface, and a forgotten island. This coupling of adventure and science fiction would later culminate in Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and numerous other franchises. Furthermore, both Journey and Twenty Thousand Leagues carry on the sci-fi trope of mad scientist, with the monomaniac Professor Lidenbrock and the Ahab-like misanthrope Captain Nemo.

The presence of these sci-fi authors would seem to indicate that the Victorians were keenly interested in science and science fiction, and indeed the Victorians were! In the century between 1820 and 1920, the world, most notably Europe and America, were transformed irrevocably by scientific advances. The Industrial Revolution, occurring between the twenties and forties, brought numerous inventions and methods of increasing production, just as our own technological revolution has brought massive improvements to computer technology. For us it is the Information Era; for the Victorians it was the Industrial Era. Along with these advancements in the sciences came a new interest in chemistry, anatomy, geology, astronomy, engineering, and other fields of research. Those works of the time which we now call science fiction often reflected that fascination, as in Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde or Journey to the Center of the Earth. The characters of Victor Frankenstein and Professor Lidenbrock embody the delight with modern science and a thirst for knowledge which the Victorians possessed in such quantities.

There were some, however, who were less than enthusiastic about these scientific and technological advancements. Appearing on the cusp of the Victorian era, the Romantic poets were the first to voice this displeasure. Wordsmiths such as Coleridge or Wordsworth exhibit a scorn for the smoggy machinations of London and Manchester, lauding instead peaceful copses, awesome mountains, and verdant glades. Mary Shelley was one such writer. While Frankenstein the film may be a gripping thriller, Frankenstein the novel has long, often dull passages describing the glories of nature. Such oppositions to industrialization continued on into the Victorian era proper and were often reflected in the literature of the time. Science fiction in particular was the perfect medium through which authors could explore the era’s conflicting views of science and technology. The mad scientists of H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Robert Louis Stevenson all serve as cautionary stories, like the faerie tales of Germany, warning their society that too much of a good thing can have sinister consequences. Victor Frankenstein is the prototype and epitome of this motif: the Faustian man of brilliance, brought low through his blind meddling.

It is a testimony to the timelessness of these concerns that science fiction has so heavily saturated our society even to this day. Now our fascination with the brilliant unknown is embodied in the wonder-filled exploits of the U.S.S. Enterprise and the TARDIS in addition to The Nautilus and the time machine. We explore the Delta Quadrant along with mysterious islands and dormant volcanoes. Our concerns, fears, and doubts are now addressed by the dystopias of Star Trek, Maze Runner, and Mad Max. The scientists of Jurassic Park and Back to the Future typify our Jekylls and Griffins. Our fears of environmental destruction are still alive and well. Now, however, it is not only coal smog we fear, but oil spills, chemical refuse, and nuclear waste. For us lab experiments no longer hold the threat of mutation, but genetically modified foodstuffs and chemical preservatives have created new worries for us. We are even able to clone living creatures now – perhaps Frankenstein’s dilemma of the sanctity of life will be pushed to the front of the table once more.

The genre we now know as science fiction was to the Victorians what it is to us: entertainment; a conduit for our concerns and fears; and tangible evidence of our hopes, aspirations, and wildest dreams.

[1] “Techno-jargon” refers to a method of scriptwriting used in the Star Trek franchise. In an interview, Jonathan Frakes explained that whenever the writers of the show decided to introduce some scientific concept when, say, the warp core was breeched, rather than pulling an explanation out of their hats they would instead hand the script over to a team of actual scientists with the section marked “TECHNO-JARGON.” These scientists would promptly proceed to pull an explanation out of their hats, but their explanation at least sounded feasible.

[2] In fact, Wells coined the term “time machine.”

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Confessions of a Workaholic: A Love Story

It’s mid-afternoon on a Tuesday and I am sitting on a beach in the Outer Banks, supposedly relaxing. The backstory to getting here is that I realized this was my last chance for a getaway before the madness of our fall season sets in at the museum, so I made the decision to visit a beach house my grandmother rented for the week with my mother, sans the husband and kiddo.  Well, the best laid plans…

There was a tropical storm. My mom was stung by a bee. My beach chair broke. A wave attempted to take my mom’s shoe out to sea. I got sick off of She-Crab soup.

Let’s just say it wasn’t the vacation I had planned to have to help me wind down a bit.

But let’s be honest here, does a Historic House Museum Director ever really wind down? The truth is, I am always working. When I go to the grocery store, I pick up drinks and snacks for my docents. When I head off to Target, I buy trash bags and light bulbs. I grab toilet paper and paper towels at Sam’s Club. I go to bakeries and harass the owners about just how small they can make their sweets- can we have tea sized cakes, mini pies, eclairs the size of my pinky finger? When browsing the décor at Tuesday Morning, I end up with office organizers, display items for the gift shop, and specialty napkins for our teas and hand towels for the bathroom. I have hair epiphanies in the shower regarding special events- we should set the tables up this way, such-and-such would love classical guitar music, this-or-that intern would be great for readings at that program. I pass out business cards at every craft show, social event, and party. When I order books on Amazon, I throw in one or two good ones for the museum library. Honestly, this job is a part of me- in many ways, it’s who I am.

You, as a visitor, intern, or staff member, may only see me a few days each week- but rest assured that I am working. 40 hours? Pshh! There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to grow this museum into the integral part of the community I truly believe it is destined to be. Thank the heavens for my two part-time staffers, who squeeze full-time work into partial work weeks. They too have hair epiphanies and moments of brilliance at the grocery store. Don’t even get me started on how much I adore my interns and volunteers, who spend their free time with us and only requests bribes in the form of tea and sweets.  I guess you could say working for this museum is a labor of love, for all involved.

So, why am I writing this to you? Well, because we would like to invite you to labor in love with us. Working for this museum is so much more than work- it is forging friendships that extend past our garden gate; it is using talents you never realized you had to entertain strangers who become family; it is investing in something greater than yourself or your ambitions. Working for this museum is working for the good of our community. And right now, in the midst of everything this country is going through, wouldn’t you like to be a part of something as positive as that?

Come. Join us. Make a difference. I will have a hot pot of tea and sweets waiting for you.

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If you would like more information regarding volunteering or interning for the museum, please contact Museum Director Jackie Spainhour or Asst. Directors Kelly Kubiak and Ella Swain at 623-9814. Not a phone person? Email us at hhvm1894@gmail.com.

Lewis Carroll and Victorian Children’s Literature

From Intern Nathan Keckley:

alice1

Some people fell in love with the works of Lewis Carroll as children; others consider them to be opium-induced nightmares. Personally, I just want Tim Burton to stop drenching them in guyliner and angst. Regardless, it can’t be denied that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass; and What Alice Found There remain some of the most popular children’s literature to this day.

As with many books, however, this wasn’t always so. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (who understandably used the pseudonym Lewis Carroll) was a mathematician and logician, and friend of the Liddell family. Charles famously began the work as a story to three children, including the not-so-coincidentally-named Alice Liddell. Allegedly, Alice requested that Charles write the story down, and so the novel began to take shape.

When Alice’s Adventures Underground, to use its original and less enthralling title,[1] first hit the shops in 1865, however, critics were not grinning like Cheshire cats at what they read. To be fair, it’s easy to understand why people think Charles Dodgson took laudanum when one reads the book, particularly near the end when a bunch of sea creatures begin to sing about soup; the famous “Jabberwocky” poem itself is just a hop and a skip of the white rabbit’s legs from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s opium-saturated “Kubla Kan.” Actually, perhaps it’s no wonder Tim Burton wanted in on this level of strange.

In addition to its rather psychedelic episodes, however, Alice was simply not the sort of children’s book the Victorians approved of. While eighteenth-century morality stories had been replaced by a more entertaining genre, young adult and children’s books still exhibited a desire to better their readers through example. One of the most obvious instances is Little Lord Fauntleroy, the most popular children’s book of the time period (so popular, in fact, that the Hunters owned two copies). Books like Little Lord Fauntleroy, with their sickeningly sweet child protagonists, were meant to set an example for Victorian children, just like the Captain Underpants books most definitely do not do in this century. Other children’s books favored a more realistic setting, with mischievous characters, seeking to empathize with their readers, such as Tom Brown’s School Days and the novels of Mark Twain. The Hunters themselves owned both Tom Brown and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Later on, however, these goody-goody and picaresque books were replaced with the faerie tale collections of Hans Christian Anderson and Andrew Lang, the latter bringing over a dozen of his chromatic faerie-books to thousands of avid adolescent readers. I myself have fond memories of listening to public domain recordings of Lang’s Blue, Lilac, and every other color under the sun faerie books, proof of their timelessness.

The Alice books, on the other hand, were just plain weird. Amidst hearts hidden in needles and magical pumpkin coaches, traditional faerie tales at least maintained some sense of reality. With Carroll, however, all bets were off: shops could become rivers; chess pieces and playing cards walked and talked as people. Despite this, by the time Through the Looking Glass rolled off the press six years later, the first novel shared in its sequel’s success, eventually rising to take its place among the paragons of preteen literature. Notably, the famous playwright and all-round fabulous Irishman Oscar Wilde read and enjoyed the Alice books. Joining the fan club as well was Her Majesty Queen Victoria herself, then in her mid-forties. Apparently the taciturn monarch finally found something that amused her.

One of the reasons for their popularity is that despite their sheer amount of weird, the Alice books actually contain a multitude of clever jokes in subjects such as mathematics, logical semantics, French vocabulary, and Latin grammar. For instance, at one point a monkey named Pat digs for apples in the ground; pomme de terre, the French word for potato, literally translates as “apple of the earth.” All these are topics Victorian children would be very familiar with (particularly if they were upper class). Dodgson clearly knew his audience, and his works are by no means simply a bad acid trip.

Furthermore, the books heralded a new era of literature. Dodgson’s Alice books helped to introduce the concept of fantasy works lasting longer than a few pages, as faerie tales had done. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was one of the first fantasy adventure novels, a genre which would later be elaborated on by George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin[2] and L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, finally culminating in the works of Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and the despicable authors of the pulp fantasy genre. Carroll’s works were also some of the first children’s works to make extensive use of illustrations in the form of John Tenniel’s delightfully iconic drawings. This idea would be carried on by Beatrix Potter and other children’s authors before culminating in full-on picture books near the end of the Victorian era.

Finally, Carroll was not alone in his nonsense literature. The poet Edward Lear was, during the same time period, writing extensive works of nonsense poetry, including “The Owl and the Pussycat,” which were received very favorably by the public.

Now Lewis Carroll’s books are some of the most popular works among children and adults the world over. They have been adapted into numerous dramatic performances and films, including Disney’s charming animated one and Tim Burton’s horrid emo one. I feel certain that if Mr. Dodgson could see what a delight his stories are to readers of all ages, his ghostly grin would be wider than any cat’s.

[1] Another title Carroll considered was Alice’s Golden Hour, which would make an excellent title for an alt rock band.

[2] The Hunters owned its sequel, The Princess and Curdie, both of which are delightful and charming children’s chapter books.

Why Women Cover their ‘Naughty Bits’

On an uncharacteristically humid day last week, I felt beads of sweat dripping down my brow as I pushed back the stubbornly flippant hair that stuck to my face like glue. It was miserably hot. The AC in my car was on the fritz and the warm moving breeze created by rolled-down windows more accurately resembled the fires of Vesuvius. I cursed my husband’s ability to wear light clothing without concerning himself with strappy summer sweat-collectors commonly known as brassieres.  I felt my mouth saying out loud what my mind angrily shouted: “What sadist decided that because I am a woman I have to wear a bra in this heat?!” David and I looked at each other quizzically. We are historians. We really should know this information.

And so began my quest to discover why the female sex is thus afflicted.

My questions actually started forming a number of months ago, when I began reading Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Manners, and Marriage (2016) by Therese Oneill. Her discussion of the daily struggles of fastening Victorian underclothes made me want to rip off my own in defiance. I enjoyed learning about why the Can-Can was really so popular (crotch-less underwear, anyone?) and why undergarments were always white. Okay, well maybe the second part really just disgusted me. Did you know that Victorians never, and I mean NEVER, planned to wash their actual dresses? They wore white underthings so they could see when they were adequately soiled and have them washed accordingly.[1] But as for those beautiful ball gowns, they stank to high heaven. So long, fantasies of Jane Austen!

Really, though, her book fascinated me and made me think about why society is, and has been historically, obsessed with underwear. For me, the real question was why brassieres were necessary. When did breasts become things that were shameful and should be contained? My first guess was that it had to be some time near the Middle Ages, when the church was undergoing its consolidation and really deciding how people should behave. Turns out, that’s not the whole story.

It appears that ancient cultures had their own version of the now popular band-like bras, which basically wrapped around the chest area. When the corset became a ‘thing’ in the 14th and 15th centuries, support came from below, not necessarily as a means to ‘gird the loins’ but as more of a practical invention. It seems that while the invention of the corset and the bra reflected the social and physical situations of women, there really was nothing evil in the creation of the bra, as I initially thought.

According to NPR:

“Caresse Crosby patented the first modern bra in the U.S. in 1914. While primping for a debutante ball, she donned a stiff corset and tight corset cover beneath her sheer evening gown. But the corset cover — which she described as “a boxlike armour of whalebone and pink cordage” — poked through her gown. “Bring me two of my pocket handkerchiefs and some pink ribbon,” she told her maid, who helped her sew the materials into a simple brassiere.

Crosby’s invention was the talk of the party; other girls crowded around, asking how she danced so freely. When she unveiled her creation, they immediately asked her to sew bras for them, too. When strangers offered a dollar for one of her bras, she decided to start a business and patented her “backless brassiere.” She managed to attract a few orders from department stores, but her startup fizzled. At her husband’s insistence, Crosby sold her patent to the Warner Brothers Corset Co. in Connecticut for $1,500.”[2]

So, the bra actually began as a freeing piece of clothing, designed to allow a woman to enjoy herself rather than writhe in discomfort and pain. When did this change? Honestly, it changed when the fashion industry became involved in its production. With the introduction of the underwire, the padded cups, and adjustable straps, the bra changed from a breathable undergarment to, in my humble opinion, an instrument of restraint. Nineteenth century doctors apparently agreed with me, as they attempted to dissuade women from wearing anything that was too restrictive and could cause ailments. So, bras began as something wonderful and freeing, and with modern changes, have become the one garment I despise wearing, especially on a hot summer day.

 

[1] Oneill, Therese. Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Manners, and Marriage. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2016.

[2] Pandika, Melissa. Bra History: How a War Shortage Reshaped Modern History. http://www.npr.org/2014/08/05/337860700/bra-history-how-a-war-shortage-reshaped-modern-shapewear (August 5, 2014),  accessed July 5, 2017.

Victorian Etiquette and Modern Travels

From Museum Director Jackie Spainhour:

I recently went on a trip, the first family trip with our fifteen month old son, to introduce him to his great-grandmother in Columbia, South Carolina. My husband was eager to see his grandmother, who is in her nineties, but was even more excited to experience the tastes of his childhood at a local burger joint and a barbecue restaurant. I was really looking forward to introducing our son to the aquarium and zoo, but my excitement quickly turned to anxiety a mere three hours into our trip. We made the decision to travel by car, which would have been a seven hour drive should everything have gone as smoothly as we planned. Unfortunately, in a small town called Micro, North Carolina, our lovely Honda Odyssey, whom we affectionately call Bertha, began to shake violently. We pulled into a mom-and-pop gas station, shut off the car, and considered our options. I took a deep breath. The baby was sleeping, thank goodness, and I knew we needed to make arrangements quickly to get this vehicle towed and get us into a working one before my son became a walking terror. I pulled out my AAA card and was certain we would be on the road within the hour. I was wrong.

AAA couldn’t locate us. When they did, they said it would be an hour and a half, but there would be a tow driver coming from the next town over and he would take the car to an AAA recommended repair shop. They connected me to Enterprise to rent a car. The problem was two-fold- the gas station attendant either didn’t know what a taxi was or was confused why I needed one, but couldn’t recommend a taxi service, and I had $10 in cash. I called a service, only to be told they only accept cash. I spotted a nearby bank and walked to it. There was no ATM, so I pulled out money from the teller. I called the taxi service back and waited for my driver to arrive. She picked me up and turned up the radio station as she drove me the ten miles to pick up my rental car. I heard all sorts of interesting snippets- an older lady was selling a deep freezer for $100 and gave her telephone number ON AIR for someone to call her to buy it, someone else had chickens and pigs for sale, and the town market was having a sale on blueberries. Let’s just say, that would never happen in Norfolk!

I picked up the rental car, drove back to my husband and now screaming baby, and waited. And we waited. And we waited. I called AAA three more times over the next two hours before they finally sent a driver- who had no idea what was going on- and he took the car. We got back on the road for the longest leg of the trip. I called the repair shop to let them know the details of the engine trouble. You know what was hilarious? They don’t work on Hondas! AAA sent my car to a place, that they recommended mind you, that didn’t work on my type of car. So, I called AAA back…again…for the umpteenth time. They apologized, said they could tow it to another facility that DID work on Hondas, but I would have to pay for it. I said in my sweet southern voice, “How can I say this nicely? No. I don’t think so. I can’t for the life of me justify why I should pay for your mistake. I would like to speak with your supervisor to have this worked out.” Insert supervisor, tow is now free, and Bertha will make her way to a larger town ten miles out. Great. I will hopefully be able to pick her up and return the rental on the day we planned to come home.

Lo and behold, I was given inaccurate information about where it was towed the second time. I miraculously found the phone number of the tow truck driver, who told me where it actually was, and I called the right place. So, what was the silver lining? The problem was covered by a recall and I paid $0, plus we didn’t have to delay too long to pick it up. But, needless to say, I had a trying day by the time we made it to Columbia.

We arranged to have dinner with my husband’s aunt and uncle, after picking up his grandmother, at a nearby Cracker Barrel. We were hungry and the baby was fussy. We sat down and he immediately started to get agitated and cry. He didn’t want to sit after being in the car all day. I picked him up to walk him outside and a woman said very loudly, “What terrible parenting. That’s what’s wrong with parents today; they pick the kid up every time they cry.” I held my tongue and walked away. When he seemed calm I returned, only for him to start again. I walked past a different woman, who proceeded to say to her waitress,” You all should provide earplugs if you’re going to let people like that eat here.” I fought back tears. Tears of exhaustion, frustration, embarrassment, anger. I went outside. My husband hadn’t heard any of it. He came outside to find me and I told him I would not go back in there or I would lose it. Needless to say, we left along with the other family members we were visiting. We took our business elsewhere. All of this to say, this trip to Columbia was not what I had imagined.

Fast forward to a much more normal car ride home, I started to imagine how different a trip like this might have been if I were a Victorian woman. First, a nanny would have been caring for my son, if he would have been brought along at all. We would likely have travelled by train, which would have taken a bit of time, but would have been much more relaxing. I could have dined on delicacies in the dining car. I would be wearing a plain, nondescript outfit so as not to attract attention to myself or my escort, who happened to be my husband. I don’t think the Lularoe top and leggings I was wearing would have cut it. If the train broke down, I wouldn’t have had to stress about finding a way to fix the situation on my own, and I would likely relish in the downtime to catch up on my reading or letter writing, which I could only do when we stopped, naturally. But, I may not have those materials in my satchel, as women were encouraged to pack lightly on their person- this is not to be said of the dozens on trunks many used when they travelled via ship, etc. I would likely not even have much money on me, to ensure it would not be stolen. Typically, I would have given the majority of it to my escort for safe keeping. So, while a lot of my autonomy might have been lost, I may have found some peace without it. Isn’t that a strangely exhilarating concept?

If those interactions with those rude people at the Cracker Barrel would have taken place on the train, there would even have been etiquette to follow in such a situation. Interestingly, I actually did what would have been advised. In many etiquette books about travelling as a woman in the Victorian Era, it was advised that a woman should never “return rudeness with rudeness.” One source argued, “Nothing will rebuke incivility in another so surely as perfect courtesy in your own manner [and] many will be shamed into apology, who would annoy you for hours, if you encouraged them by acts of rudeness on your part.” So, ignore them and save yourself the hassle of arguing with them. That, I think, is good advice. I am glad I reacted that way, although every fiber of my being wanted to react negatively towards them.

Travelling as a Victorian lady would have been much more exhilarating as well, because women so rarely were able to move about unaccompanied. That is one of the reasons I find the subject so fascinating. Many women who made the bold and brave decision to travel, sometimes even alone, did so to foreign places and kept diaries about their travels. Some simply wanted to explore the exotic; others wanted to make advances in botany or Christianize foreign peoples. Their diaries are fascinating- often times they describe the people they encounter not only with awe, but occasionally with a hint of desire and jealousy. Some wanted the same freedom to speak about sexuality as the Italians and Ottomans did; others wanted the ability to travel alone without ridicule or to live a much simpler life like many of the African tribes. If, like me, this subject is of interest to you, I hope you will join me Thursday, August 17th at 7 PM at the museum, where I will give a talk on women in the 18th and 19th century who travelled to the Middle East and other areas and recorded their movements. This will be one part of the event, which is titled Arabian Nights, and will also feature readings, music, and refreshments.

So, would you want to travel as a Victorian? Do you have experiences travelling that echo the terrible experience I had last week? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and call 623-9814 if you want to register for our Arabian Nights event. It is going to be a fun evening!

 

Sources for further reading:

Beeton, Samuel Orchart, Family Etiquette, 1876.

Hartley, Cecil, The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness.

Hartley, Florence, The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette, a Manual of Politeness, 1875.

The Hand-book of Etiquette, 1860.

Own a Piece of the Hunter House!

It’s that time of year for spring cleaning- and we are really cleaning house around here! There comes a time in the life of any house that de-cluttering needs to occur. For an historic house museum like ours, that means taking the time to really think about our mission as an organization and how the ‘things’ on display and in storage further that mission.  After taking the time to craft our mission statement, we came up with the following:

“The Hunter House Victorian Museum is a non-profit historic house museum located in Norfolk, Virginia which seeks to educate the public in late nineteenth and early twentieth century decorative arts, culture, and the structure’s significance in Norfolk’s local history.”

With this mission in mind, our staff assessed the value of the items in our collection and each piece’s relevance in telling the story of the Hunter family and their home as it pertains to the Victorian Era. Lo and behold, we found some very interesting items tucked away in corners, in attic spaces, and in boxes that we didn’t even know existed.  After a series of discussions with our Board and amongst ourselves, we decided that you can bid to own small pieces of the Hunter House. All proceeds will benefit the continued restoration of the museum’s archive. Isn’t that exciting?!

So, we are going to be hosting a silent auction that will begin on May 3rd at 10 AM and end at 3:30 PM on May 7th, which will be the end of our Kentucky Derby event. Derby attendees will be given the opportunity to bid during the tea, but anyone may stop by to place their bids at that time as well.  During the week, items will be displayed throughout the museum with sheets for you to place your bid. During the Derby event, some items will be added to those that were on display throughout the week for the silent auction. Some of our items are too large to display inside of the house, so they will not be available for viewing until the Derby event itself. We still have spots for the Derby if you would like to sign up! Call us at 757-623-9814 to make reservations.

For now, here is a sneak peak of some of the items that will be available for sale. Please note that artwork, architectural, and larger decorative items are not pictured.

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(From above and below: silver items only)

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(From above: Excludes the tussie mussie holder)

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(From above: Hypo items only)

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(From Below: Don’t forget! We are accepting items for care packages for our deployed military. Why, you might ask? We are doing this in honor of the anniversary of the US entering WWI. Any contribution, monetary or otherwise, is welcome. In exchange, enjoy 10% off  in the museum shop. Be on the lookout for more WWI-related events throughout the rest of 2017.)

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We hope to see you at our silent auction!

Note: Cash or check only will be accepted for the auction. You do not have to present at the end of the auction to win.

We’re Back!

Thank you to everyone who made our opening day such a success!

We’re Back!

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It’s that time of year again-time for flowering cherry blossoms, random thunderstorms, and the opening of the Hunter House Victorian Museum! It has been a trying winter for us as the staff has been navigating around the realities of working in an old house- old pipes needing repair, ceilings caving in, and finding the right people to do the work. Luckily, we have prevailed and the museum is now functioning at an optimal level, until the next round of ‘this old house’ of course. There are never dull moments around here!
We are very excited to invite you to join us during our 2017 operating season. Our goal this year is two-fold. First, we wish to make strides to fulfill our mission to educate the public on nineteenth century decorative arts, Victorian lifestyles, and the museum’s place in Norfolk’s local history. Second, we want to preserve, protect, and reinterpret our collection to allow for the fulfillment of our educational mission. These are lofty goals, indeed. Here are some of the ways we are going to meet them (and how you can be a part of what we are doing):
1. Raising funds through programming to support work in our third floor archive
Through programs like our silent auction (of REAL Hunter family/museum items!) at our Kentucky Derby Garden Party on May 7th, we hope to raise funds to purchase archival quality boxes and paper, page protectors for our extensive postcard collection, and cataloguing software.
2. Museum Memberships
Our Museum membership program is in its second year, and we hope you will consider joining! Like our special programming, funds from the museum memberships will be used to aid in restoring our archive, which will help us fulfill our educational mission. As a member, you will receive special pricing on events and become our valued partner in preservation.  Please call us for more details!
3. Spring Lectures and Symposium
Our lecture series is the purest form of educational programming we offer, and we would be delighted if you would consider attending- or even presenting- a program. Lectures are offered Fridays mornings at 11 AM in our parlor in April and May. Our scheduled programming includes:
April 7th- Alex Shelanski, ODU Student, 19th Century Boating
April 14th- Lisa Lyman, Fine Arts Specialists, Painting Conservation
April 21st- Alexandra Whiteside, Art Institute, Evolution of Interior Design
April 28th- Seth Feman, Chrysler Museum, 19th Century Art
May 5th – Jim Fish, Numismatics or the Art of Coin Collecting
May 12th- Stacy Weissner, Regency Society, How the Regency Period molded  Victorian Identity
May 19th – Joshua Weinstein, Chrysler Museum of Art, Women and Norfolk Arts:  The Victorian Origins of the Chrysler Museum
We are always on the lookout for interesting topics and presenters for both our lecture series and the 19th Century Symposium, which we cosponsor with the Eloise Hunter Chapter of the Victorian Society in America. Let us know if you would like to present on an interesting topic! If you would like to attend our spring symposium on April 29th from 10-3, give us a call at 623-9814.

4. Offering Guided Tours
Our regularly scheduled guided tours allow us to fulfill our most basic and primary function: to present our collection to the world for historical interpretation. In order to do this, we need a dedicated team of volunteer docents and interns to give tours to guests, participate in special programming, and share their love of Victoriana. Won’t you consider joining our team? Applications can be emailed to hunterhouse@juno.com.

5. Tapping into our community
After many talks and pow-wows with our lovely neighbors at the Hill House Museum in Portsmouth, we are thrilled to be partnering for a weekend honoring our fallen soldiers and Victorian mourning customs on May 27th and 28th. Come to the Hunter House on May 27th for a cemetery tour and lectures to be held throughout the day (we will post times on our social media- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) focusing on the traditions of Memorial Day. On May 28th, journey to the Hill House for a thematic tea featuring Civil War Reenactors commemorating those who lost their lives during the conflict. Reservations for the tea must be made through the Hill House directly. Cost is $40 per guest and reservations can be secured by calling 393-0241.
But, let’s face it, sometimes we just want to party like a Victorian! So, we will continue to offer our afternoon teas filled with fun and friendship, make-and-take classes like our Paint en Plein Air, and evening programs which may or may not feature libations. Sometimes immersing oneself in a culture is the best way to educate yourself about it. Whether you choose to know the Victorians through books or Brandy is your prerogative- and we will offer you programming and support your thirst for knowledge either way!

Questions about our mission, getting involved, or our current programming? Call 623-9814 or email hunterhouse@juno.com. We’d love to hear from you!

5 Reasons You Should Take your Children to Museums

Why should you take your children to museums?  Find out the top five reasons from our Director Jackie Spainhour!

5 Reasons You Should Take your Children to Museums

If you’re like me, some days the furthest thing from your mind is dressing your screaming child, packing the diaper bag full of endless supplies, and jetting off to a supposedly fun destination as a solo caregiver. As a parent with a partner, I cannot even fathom how much more difficult it would be as a single parent. So, what I am about to suggest may seem impossible, but hear me out. I vote that you start taking your child, no matter the age, to museums. Yes, we all love the convenience of mall play centers and the park, but how many of us really take the time to introduce our children to our local gems of history, art, and culture? Really, why should we? Here are a few of my reasons why you should take that leap and adventure to your closest museum with your lovable, frustrating child.

  1. Live Through Their Eyes (Or Wandering Fingers…)

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(Two of our younger guests with their moms at the witch’s tea October 2016)

Every time I take a child through the museum, I am able to view our collection in new and exciting ways. Children have a talent for pointing out the mundane and making it revolutionary. I once gave a tour to a kindergartner who had an obsession with trees and the color green. So, she proceeded to call my attention to every shade of green throughout the museum and every instance where a tree was in a pattern- on the wallpaper, on a book cover, on the upholstery and draperies- until I was convinced I was actually touring a lush forest rather than a nineteenth century house museum. This tour, and others like it with children, allowed me to appreciate surroundings that have become so familiar to me that they sometimes feel ordinary rather than extraordinary.

My child is too small at this point to really interact with museum collections, but every time I have toured a museum with a friend or family member’s child, I find the same idea holds true- they notice things you would otherwise overlook as commonplace. Children ask the best questions too, like why do the mommy and daddy sleep in different rooms? What is that chair with the opening in the seat used for anyway? Where is the television and DVD player? You can really get your money’s worth with children engaging in a Q&A with your tour guide. Of course, we can’t forget the amount of bonding you will do with your child that isn’t focused on yet another episode of Sesame Street or Bubble Guppies. That should be reason enough to get out of the house and visit a museum, but I digress.

So, in order to shed your adult haughtiness and sensibilities bring a child to a museum to find your own sense of wonder and appreciation once again.

  1. Have an Adult Conversation (With an Actual Adult)

I find that one of the most difficult parts of parenting, especially in those first few months, is getting used to being void of the normal amounts of adult human contact to which you were accustomed prior to the birth of your little one. I spent entire days having conversations aloud with a tiny person, whose only response was a dirty diaper, crying, or confused blinking.  Honestly, the lack of mature conversation is enough to drive any educated person insane. I found myself watching Ancient Aliens and other ‘historical’ programs just so I could argue aloud, rather intelligently and enthusiastically, with another adult. I guess you could say getting back to work couldn’t come fast enough.

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(Gloria, Kristen, and Patsy volunteers from the Hunter House 2016)

The great thing about museums is that the majority employ a volunteer or paid docent staff, most of whom are intelligent adults. Taking your three month old son to a museum may sound insane, but it really is the perfect opportunity to watch him sleep in his buggy while you engage in articulate, adult conversation over a Monet or Van Gogh. In many instances, this may be the only adult conversation you have for a while that does not focus on your baby. In-laws, parents, and even your partner generally only engage in conversation with you to discuss the baby in some way, shape, or form. So, if you are craving adult interaction and your brain hasn’t yet turned to mush, take your little one to a museum to give yourself a much needed adult intervention.

  1. Save Money

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Let’s face it- a movie will cost you and your little one $20 easily. Add in a fast food lunch or a sit down meal at Panera and your afternoon could cost close to $40- and that’s just for the two of you! Many museums offer free admission, are donation only, or offer very low-priced rates for visitors. Most of the museums in our area (with the zoo, aquarium, and Nauticus as the exceptions) cost $5 or less per person, with some offering children’s rates as low as $1. Places like the Chrysler Museum are free, thanks to the generous patronage of their members. The Hunter House charges $5 per guest, with a $1 child rate. Children under 5 are free. While I cannot argue that a museum is always a more economical outing than one to the beach, park, or mall, I do think the benefits of such a trip outweigh the nominal costs.

  1. Be a Tourist in Your Town

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(Tourists visiting the Hunter House Fall 2016)

Travelling with young children can be difficult and sometimes impossible. As a result, the last time you had a vacation was probably a few years before they were born and most likely involved expensive dinners and copious amounts of alcohol. Gone are those days, my friend. Still, you can find time to have new experiences like you would have on vacation if you choose to visit places in your town that are not necessarily new, but new to you. Grab a Visitor’s Guide to your city or contact the local welcome center to discover places you may not have even known existed. People tell us all of the time, and I mean ALL of the time, that they have lived their entire lives in Norfolk and never heard of the Hunter House. Private entities like ours are not affiliated with the city and often do not get as much exposure as a result, but you can find us in Visitor’s Guides and centers because that is where we are most likely to spend our limited advertising dollars. So, plan a weekend of discovery in your town by plotting a course to visit museums and cultural centers you never knew existed. It will be much less expensive and more educational than that weekend in Cabo.

  1. Experience New Children’s Programming

Children’s programming at museums has come a long way from drawing pictures or simply touring facilities. Many museums now offer programs designed specifically for children that focus on educational milestones, STEAM education, and more. The Hunter House offers a patch with the Girl Scouts that is designed specifically around our collection. The Chrysler Museum has educators who will engage with children on their level to interpret the historical artifacts in their collection. Some museums offer puppet shows, outdoor movies, craft classes, and more for nominal or no costs. You can often subscribe to websites like http://hamptonroads.myactivechild.com/ to learn about all of the children’s programming happening in your area. Libraries are also treasure troves for children’s programming, but for an equally educational but different experience, take your child to a local museum and watch them learn first-hand.

 

There are so many more reasons to take children to museums, but in the interest of not talking you to death I will end here. What are your reasons for taking children to museums? What are your favorite local spots or children’s programs? Leave us feedback in the comments- maybe we can try to incorporate some of your favorites into our programming!

Charles Dickens and Christmas Culture

It wouldn’t be a Victorian Christmas without discussing Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol!  Enjoy our Christmas post below from our intern, Megan, and learn about the darker context behind  A Christmas Carol.

From Megan:

The celebration of Christmas predated the Victorians, but the culture that surrounds the holiday today coincided with the work of Charles Dickens. In A Christmas Carol – the story of heartless capitalist who found himself confronted by the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future – Dickens constructed the myth of the spirit of Christmas. While Dickens has been credited with inventing Christmas, many of the traditions now integral to celebrations were not included in A Christmas Carol. Modern practices – even caroling – were not present in the infamous story. The most essential contribution of A Christmas Carol to modern holiday celebrations derived from the endurance of the idea of Christmas spirit: emphasis on family, food, decorations, and goodwill. An examination of the context in which Dickens’s tale was conceived, however, revealed a darker side of the story.[1]

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As with A Christmas Carol, Dickens organized his literary works around the class struggle in Victorian England. Charles Dickens’s fixation on the plight of the poor derived from his childhood experience in a family living in poverty. As a result of his father’s inability to manage the family’s finances, Dickens and the rest of his family were held in a debtors’ prison for six months. With power came responsibility, and Dickens used his eventual success and celebrity platform to elucidate the prevalence of economic disparity within England – helping to propagate the term “red tape” for bureaucratic policies that marginalized the poor. Perhaps the most significant motivator for his efforts toward social justice, Dickens venerated children and was tremendously disturbed by the plight of poor, uneducated, and often imprisoned juveniles. This devotion to children shaped his story-telling with an emphasis the innocent, pure-hearted child.[2]

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(Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. With Illustrations by John Leech. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843. First edition. Title page.)

The romanticized image of Christmas presented in A Christmas Carol demonstrated Dickens’s hope for children and for the betterment of society. The beautiful, snowy Christmas Day that served as the setting for a revival of the human spirit and blessings to all characterized the spirit of Christmas for Dickens’s readers. A biographer of Charles Dickens, Peter Ackroyd, disputed criticisms of Dickens’s allegedly unrealistic expectations of Christmas. Dickens’s portrayal of the rare white Christmas as ordinary, for example, was defended by Ackroyd as having been inspired by the first eight years of Dickens’s life during which it always snowed at Christmas time. According to this interpretation, Dickens may have found the inspiration for this idealized holiday in his own reality. A second biographer and expert on Dickens, GK Chesterton, similarly defended the idealized version of the holiday, as well as the moral fortitude of the story. “Whether the Christmas visions would or would not convert Scrooge, they convert us,” Chesterton explained.[3]

Victorian England shaped Charles Dickens as a writer and as a legend. The Christmas spirit evoked by A Christmas Carol created the modern incarnation of the holiday festivities. The advancement in the commercialization of Christmas served as an ironic consequence of Dickens’s writings and social activism. To Charles Dickens, for the literary masterpieces – most notably A Christmas Carol – and for the spirt of Christmas, we remain eternally grateful.[4]

 

[1] Geoffrey Rowell, “Dickens and the Construction of Christmas,” History Today 43, no. 12 (1993): 17, MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost, accessed December 9, 2016.

[2] Alex Hudson, “Charles Dickens: Six Things he Gave the Modern World,” BBC News, December 15, 2011, accessed December 9, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16184487.

[3] John Sutherland, “The Origins of A Christmas Carol,” Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians, British Library, accessed December 9, 2016, https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/the-origins-of-a-christmas-carol.

[4] Sally Ledger and Holly Furneaux, Charles Dickens in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Bibliography

Hudson, Alex. “Charles Dickens: Six Things He Gave the Modern World.” BBC News. December 15, 2011. Accessed December 9, 2016. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16184487

Ledger, Sally and Holly Furneaux. Charles Dickens in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Rowell, Geoffrey. “Dickens and the Construction of Christmas.” History Today 43, no. 12 (1993). MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost. Accessed December 9, 2016.

Sutherland, John. “The Origins of A Christmas Carol.” Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians. British Library. Accessed December 9, 2016. https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/the-origins-of-a-christmas-carol

Victorian Christmas Traditions

Have you ever wondered how the Victorians celebrated Christmas?  What did they do differently than us or similarly?  To find out how the Victorians celebrated Christmas and which modern traditions they practiced please continue reading!

From our intern, Megan:

The marriage of Queen Victoria to German-born Prince Albert introduced some of the most prominent Christmas traditions to Victorian Britain, and later, to the United States. The custom of decorating a Christmas tree, for example, gained popularity after the Illustrated London News, 1848, published a drawing of the royal family surrounding an evergreen tree, or Tannenbaum, – continued from the medieval tradition in which the tree represented eternal life – adorned with candles, sweets, and handmade decorations. Evergreen plants – trees, mistletoe, holly, and ivy – served as holiday decoration, protection from evil spirits, and hope for spring. The decorations quickly became extravagant and Victorians encouraged uniform elegance (“History of Christmas,” BBC; Johnson, “A Victorian Christmas).”

The advent of the commercialization of Christmas celebrations, like everything else in the Victorian era, did not occur independently of industrialization. The invention of the Christmas card took place in 1843, but the average Victorian could not afford the one-shilling price tag. Not long after children were encouraged to create their own cards as an inexpensive alternative, color printing technology allowed for the mass production of affordable cards. By the 1880s, mailing Christmas cards was wildly popular.

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(Victorian Christmas Card from the 1890’s from Archives New Zealand’s former Post and Telegraph/Telecom Museum Holdings collection)

Excess wealth accumulated with industry allowed Victorians to take time off of work. Christmas Day and Boxing Day, December 26, became recognized holidays in the Victorian period. Boxing Day earned its name for the opening of boxes of money gifted by the wealthy and do-gooders to servants and working people (“History of Christmas,” BBC; Johnson, “A Victorian Christmas).”

 

Industrialization in the Victorian period similarly led to the marketing of sweets designed especially for Christmas, such as Christmas crackers. The giving and receiving of Christmas presents also started with the Victorians, evolving from the tradition of gift-giving during New Year celebrations. Industrialization allowed for the widespread availability of factory-made children’s toys as an alternative to the handmade toys that were only affordable to the wealthy. The Christmas stocking became popular in the early 1870s, as poor children generally received only stockings filled with fruit or nuts. The United States recognized the commercial potential of Christmas earlier than Britain, and in 1880s New York department stores filled their windows with European toys and manufacturers began the production of ornaments – often decorated with “diamond dust,” or powdered glass (“History of Christmas,” BBC; Johnson, “A Victorian Christmas).”

Two of the most beloved Christmas traditions, carol singers and Santa Claus, were popularized in the Victorian period. Caroling, celebrated in Britain as musical entertainment, gained popularity as a Christmas celebration by Victorians. In the United States, the sight of carolers marked the beginning of the holiday season. Carolers sold sheet music, often frequenting market areas, and traveled door-to-door performing. Christmas carols have remained one of the most celebrated Christmas traditions. Also in the Victorian period, the figure of Father Christmas originated in the legends and stories of many different countries and many different languages. Clement Moore’s 1822 poem, “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” inspired Bavarian artist Thomas Nast’s illustrations of Father Christmas on which the modern-day depiction of Santa Claus was based (“History of Christmas,” BBC; Edwards, “A Victorian Christmas).”

Modern Christmas traditions were modeled after Victorian Christmas celebrations – including decorating Christmas trees, singing carols, and mailing greeting cards. Often credited as the inventor of Christmas, Charles Dickens, in The Christmas Carol, depicted the most meaningful characteristics of the Victorian Christmas. The morals of Dickens’s story – the importance of family, peace, and goodwill – have been adopted as the cornerstones of the present-day Christmas spirit (“History of Christmas,” BBC; Phillip V. Allingham, “Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas)”.

Question for the reader: Does your family have any Christmas traditions?  If so what are they?

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

“History of Christmas.” BBC. Accessed November 20, 2016. http://www.bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas/history.shtml.

 

“A Victorian Christmas.” The Complete Victorian. Accessed November 20, 2016. http://www.thecompletevictorian.com/christmas.html

 

Allingham, Phillip V. “Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas.” The Victorian Web: Literature, History, and Culture in the Age of Victoria. Last modified December 14, 2009. Accessed November 20, 2016. http://www.victorianweb.org/victorian/authors/dickens/xmas/pva63.html

 

Edwards, Sylvia. “Victorian Christmas Traditions.” Ancestry: Blogs. Accessed November 20, 2016. http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/12/01/victorian-christmas-traditions/

 

Johnson, Ben. “A Victorian Christmas.” History Magazine: History of England. Accessed November 20, 2016. http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/A-Victorian-Christmas/