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Two Centuries of Costume in America, Volume 1 (1620-1820)   By: (1851-1911)

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In "Two Centuries of Costume in America, Volume 1 (1620-1820)," author Alice Morse Earle offers an engaging and comprehensive exploration of fashion and clothing trends in the United States during the early colonial period up until the early 19th century. With meticulous research and a keen eye for detail, Earle presents a captivating narrative that not only delves into the external appearance of clothing but also sheds light on the cultural, social, and historical context that influenced American fashion.

One of the book's strengths lies in Earle's ability to present a vivid picture of the evolution of clothing styles over the span of two centuries. Through in-depth descriptions and vivid imagery, she allows readers to visualize the garments worn by individuals from various walks of life, from the styles worn by Puritan settlers to the intricate gowns and waistcoats of the aristocracy. This attention to detail paints a rich tapestry of American history, revealing the significance of fashion as an expression of identity and a reflection of societal values.

Earle not only highlights the changes in clothing styles but also explores the factors that influenced these transformations. She examines the impact of European influences on American fashion, such as the influence of British colonizers and French fashion trends. Furthermore, she provides fascinating insights into the influence of economic prosperity, social class, religious beliefs, and political events on clothing choices. It is through this interdisciplinary lens that Earle unveils a captivating story of how fashion evolved throughout American history.

Moreover, the wealth of visual materials included in the book greatly enhances the reading experience. From illustrations and paintings to photographs of original garments and accessories, the visual evidence brings the costumes to life, allowing readers to appreciate the intricate details and craftsmanship of each period's fashion. These illustrations, coupled with the author's descriptive prose, create an immersive reading experience that transports readers back in time.

While the book focuses primarily on the fashion trends of white colonial Americans, it would have been beneficial to explore the clothing of marginalized communities, such as enslaved individuals and Native Americans. Though Earle touches on these topics to some extent, a more in-depth examination would have further enriched the narrative and presented a more comprehensive view of American fashion history.

In conclusion, "Two Centuries of Costume in America, Volume 1 (1620-1820)" is a captivating and informative book that offers a well-researched exploration of American fashion during its formative years. Alice Morse Earle's meticulous attention to detail, combined with her ability to contextualize fashion within broader historical and cultural contexts, makes this book a valuable resource for historians, fashion enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the history of American dress.

First Page:

TWO CENTURIES OF COSTUME IN AMERICA MDCXX MDCCCXX

ALICE MORSE EARLE AUTHOR OF "SUN DIALS AND ROSES OF YESTERDAY" "OLD TIME GARDENS," ETC.

VOLUME I Nineteen Hundred and Three

Madam Padishal and Child. Madam Padishal and Child.

To George P. Brett

"An honest Stationer (or Publisher) is he, that exercizeth his Mystery (whether it be in printing, bynding or selling of Bookes) with more respect to the glory of God & the publike aduantage than to his owne Commodity & is both an ornament & a profitable member in a ciuill Commonwealth.... If he be a Printer he makes conscience to exemplefy his Coppy fayrely & truly. If he be a Booke bynder, he is no meere Bookeseller (that is) one who selleth meerely ynck & paper bundled up together for his owne aduantage only: but he is a Chapman of Arts, of wisdome, & of much experience for a little money.... The reputation of Schollers is as deare unto him as his owne: For, he acknowledgeth that from them his Mystery had both begining and means of continuance. He heartely loues & seekes the Prosperity of his owne Corporation: Yet he would not iniure the Uniuersityes to advantage it. In a word, he is such a man that the State ought to cherish him; Schollers to loue him; good Customers to frequent his shopp; and the whole Company of Stationers to pray for him... Continue reading book >>




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