A taste of the times of Downton Abbey; American girlhood between 1900 and 1910.
July 20-24, 2015
Monday through Friday 9:00 AM — 3:00 PM
If your daughter has enjoyed Girls Making History workshops in the past, here is an opportunity for her to go deeper in her learning.
The year 1900 witnessed a mass movement of Americans from farms to factory jobs in the cities. Transportation spanned the spectrum from canals to elevated trains to steam engines to the new-fangled automobile. From the music of Tin Pan Ally to the stage shows of Vaudeville and the new moving pictures, entertainment began to unite Americans in a shared popular culture.
There was no typical pattern for American girlhood during this era. A family’s class and wealth determined whether its daughters worked in mills or went to school, whether they wore rags or fashionable dresses, whether they lived in squalid tenements or sprawling mansions – or perhaps in some new “middle class” style in between.
During this week of camp, we will be reading together from the classic Betsy and Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. These books chronicle the friendship of three girls growing up in small-town America at the start of the 20th century.
Here is a sample of activities for the week:
Music, music, music – The new century saw the emergence of musical forms uniquely American, especially ragtime. Girls will gather around the piano (and sometimes the CD player) to learn some favorite songs from the era.
Good Manners for All Occasions – Whether a girls lived in a Downton Abbey type setting or a more humble sort of society, rules of etiquette dictated expected norms of behavior for everyone. We will compare etiquette books from then and now, and practice our manners over an afternoon tea party.
Scrapping! - Countless girls collected newspaper clippings, advertising cards, and mementos and pasted them into collages to create their own unique books. Campers will create their own old-fashioned scrap books using reproductions of authentic “scraps” from the era, and adding their own journaling and memorabilia.
A Stitch in Time – Sewing was an important skill for every girl to master, both plain sewing and “fancywork.” Girls will learn about the tradition of samplers, and will cross stich samplers of their own.
Decoupage – This classic paper-cutting craft was wildly popular during the Edwardian Era, as girls decorated surfaces from furniture to ceramics to hat boxes. Girls will decorate and varnish their own wooden cigar boxes for storing trinkets and treasures.
Play – Girls were not restricted to sedentary indoor activities as they had been in previous eras. Bicycling had become an American pastime for women and girls, Anna Botsford Comstock had brought the study of nature into public school classrooms, and the Beard sisters’ classic, The American Girl’s Handy Book, taught girls how to organize clubs, outings, and the construction of their own playthings. Girls will try their hand at some of these throughout the week!
Each girl should bring her own lunch and a Bible.