“Gingerbread” may immediately cause visions of cookie-and-candy houses dripping with icicles made of brittle white icing, but gingerbread’s Victorian history is so much more than that. Perhaps this broader history is why the National Day Calendar says today, June 5, is National Gingerbread Day.
I’ve recently covered leavening agents in Victorian Baking, including saleratus and baking soda (let’s not confuse salsoda!). But what of the “pearl ash” noted in early American cook books (1796)? Asheries were a significant part of 19th century life, as ashes (can you imagine?) were a significant export from the United States and Canada. Come see what pearl ash was, how it was made, and what an ashery was all about.
The history of indoor toilets (including those that flush) goes back further into history than you might expect. I share the timeline of such facilities, followed by surviving examples of Victorian indoor toilets, schematics of proper plumbing techniques of the day, and floor plans including indoor tubs and toilets. Victorians–at least late Victorians–had life pretty comfortable.
Our Victorian American ancestors celebrated Thanksgiving very much like we do today. Some fun traditions have slowly melted away into obscurity but others are still going strong. This article contains detail amateur historians will enjoy, the official photograph of 1890 University of Michigan football team, and images of printed invitations issued for holiday parties.
This article celebrates the origins of the United States’ Independence Day, including 10 little known Top Ten facts regarding historical celebrations of July 4th.