Old West Barber Shop

Old West Barber Shop

Old West Barber Shops used the traditional sign of the striped pole, advertised in newspapers, and usually hired men. Comparing for time passage and inflation, the low rates barbers charged then still seem ridiculously low. This is the first of many posts about Old West Barber Shops and Ladies Hair Salons.

Victorians at the Seashore

Victorians at the Seashore

You’re likely familiar with Victorian-era “bathing costumes”–puffy dresses with pantaloons that still leave much to the imagination, thereby protecting the  Victorian sense of propriety and decency. Inside this article, I share images of men’s bathing suits, attitudes (about bathing suits) expressed in United States newspapers of the day, and informative glimpses into a man’s view of a woman’s reasons for bathing in the sea before an audience…or not. A romantic tragedy on Coney Island in 1875 illustrates the dangers of the Victorian’s passion with immersing themselves in the sea.

Paper: Common in the Old West?

Paper: Common in the Old West?

I’ve read books where the intrepid hero has to reuse brown paper the mercantile owner used to wrap a purchase in order to leave the heroine an all-important note. I read another novel where a would-be bride’s employer deducted the cost of paper and envelope from her wages. Was paper that expensive? Did expense translate to scarcity?

19th Century Washing Machines

19th Century Washing Machines

Laundry was a greater challenge– and more work– than most amateur historians comprehend. Even when methods gave way from a washboard to a washing machine, the amount of physical labor required was nothing simple. Manual washing machines didn’t become available until quite late in the frontier era– after the Transcontinental Railroad went through. The washing machine was first available to order through a catalog in the late 1880’s.

Courtship, Old West Style

Courtship, Old West Style

The ritual of courtship in the days of the American Old West is very different from today’s dating. Courtship used to always mean an intention to marry–if the couple found they were indeed as compatible as they believed. Courtship followed specific rules and standards, even in the less-than-stuffy western territories and states. I provide a list of courtship rituals that are an intrinsic part of the fabric of the American West history.