25 October 2012 by Published in: Show Notes No comments yet

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Martin:  Hi everyone, this is Martin Willis with the Antique Auction Forum. Welcome to Episode 121 with Mary Miley Theobald. Today’s topic is going to be on historical myths. Some of them do apply to antiques; it’s a pretty fun show, I hope you enjoy it. You can follow us on twitter or you can like us on Facebook; those icons are right on our website http://antiqueauctionforum.com. You can contact me at info@antiqueauctionforum.com. Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoy today’s show.

This podcast is sponsored by WorthPoint. Find out what your antiques are worth at WorthPoint.com

Martin:  I have Mary Miley Theobald in Virginia on Skype. How are you doing Mary?

Mary:  I’m fine, thank you.

Martin:  And you are a historian, and you live in Virginia.

Mary: Yes I do.

Martin:  I listened to one of your podcasts, the Colonial Williamsburg Podcast; I thought it was great and a really interesting topic because we do from time to time some historical podcasts here and a lot of what we are involved in in the business certainly relates to history, so they’re always very popular on these shows. Can you talk a little bit about what some of your books have been lately about myths and debunking them? This is a real fun subject if you ask me.

Mary: It is fun. And of all the writing I’ve done in the past 30 years this has really been the most fun book I’ve written. I guess it got started back in 2006 when I visited the DAR Museum in Washington, and they had an exhibit on history myths. They were debunking certain myths that are widely repeated at museums, or historic sites, national parks, city bus tours, carriage rides, those kinds of things. Myths like “People didn’t bathe back then”, or “Colonial Americans thought tomatoes were poisonous” or “women secluded themselves indoors during pregnancy”; things that were patently not true. I wrote an article debunking a few myths; I thought maybe I’d find a dozen. And it got a lot of attention. People wrote back saying “what about this myth” and “what about this myth”, so I wrote a second article, started collecting them, had enough for a book, and I’m still collecting; I might have enough for a second book!

Martin:  Well I’m going to tell you a couple I’ve heard, and (laughing) you can add them if you don’t have them already. First of all, I want to say in this business, in the antiques business, there are a lot of myths. One I was heavily involved in – and I passed it along for probably 10 years before I actually researched it and figured out that it was a myth that had been passed down – and I hate to say it, but it was passed down by my father, was:

In 1890 there was a McKinley Tariff Act, and at that time every item that was imported into this country had to, and still does have to, have a stamp with the country of origin. And so the rumor, or the myth, was that most of the porcelain was coming in from China and of course they were marked “China” on the bottom so everybody called the porcelains that you eat dinner on or whatever, they started calling them china. And that was my myth that I passed along until I think I came upon an inventory of a death in the 18th century, and on that it said “China” you know, as household China, and so that made me do a little research and I found out that since porcelain had originated in China it’s been a term for many years. So that was my myth that I passed along, I should say (laughing) one of the myths I’ve passed along. Before we get into some of the myths you’re going to talk about, as far as passing them along; did they go from continent to continent?

Mary: Well sometimes, with some changes. There is a myth in England that’s been around for centuries that says on the effigies of knights that you see in brass or on stone on, say, a cathedral floor, that if you look at the knights feet, if they’re crossed that means he went on a crusade and if they’re not, then he didn’t. Well, English historians have been trying to debunk this myth for 200 years without success; you still hear it. But that is much the same as a myth that we hear here in national parks, or on city bus tours; whenever you see an equestrian statue you will hear the myth that the position of the horse’s hooves tells you the fate of the rider. If one leg is up, that means the rider was wounded in battle, if both legs are up he was killed in battle, and if all 4 are on the ground that means the rider survived the war. Well, this isn’t true, or I like to say its true one third of the time. It’s the same kind of notion that we’ve passed; we don’t have effigies of knights, but we still tell the same kind of stories; that there’s some kind of secret code. I think people buy into it because they like the idea of a secret code; we like to be in on a secret code.

Martin:  Yes it’s kind of like, what was the name of that game you played when you were a kid, “Telephone” or something like that? You pass the message along and it changes; it can become a myth all on its own. Before we get into some of the fun myths that you’re going to talk about:

“Mad as a hatter” – I have always heard that was from Mercury vapor when they were making the hats. Have you looked into that one?

Mary: It is (true). Some myths are true. “Mad as a hatter” comes from that expression; yes.

Martin:  Okay I have one that I had heard of, that was an old-time one that of course was debunked over hundred years ago, and that is: if someone were to travel faster than 60 miles an hour their heart would stop. Did you ever hear that one?

Mary:  (laughing) No.

Martin:  That supposedly, maybe this is a myth about a myth, was back in the 18th century. And the only study they could’ve done back then was if someone fell off a cliff; and yes of course their heart would stop (laughing) eventually.

Mary: I’ve never heard that one, but I’m learning more and more every day. People from museums, and national parks, are always sending me things; they say “we heard this” or “we’ve been saying this” is it true? And I have to go do the research and find out.

Martin:  Ok, well write that one down (laughing).

Mary: I’ll add it to my list. I’ll add the China one too.

Martin:  Now can you talk about some of the most entertaining myths that come to mind right now?

Mary: I’ll tell you one in my book that I think is the silliest one, and it does pertain to antiques. You may have heard that in a 19th-century home that has a staircase that turns at the landing, there often is a niche in the wall, and the myth says that these are called “coffin corners”, and that they were built-in to allow people to get the coffin downstairs; to turn the corner; you couldn’t get a big coffin around the corner. The explanation for this is that people died at their home in their beds in those days; not in a hospital, and the bedrooms were often upstairs and so to get the coffin upstairs you needed this coffin niche to get it around the corner. Well this is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard! Anyone who died in their bed upstairs, you take the body downstairs and then put it in a coffin; you don’t carry a coffin up, put the body in, and carry the coffin down!

Martin:  A coffin weighs quite a bit by itself. That is pretty funny.

Mary: It does! But you will still hear in 19th century homes people will refer to these as coffin corners, when they are just decorative niches for a vase, or a bust, or a lovely flower arrangement or something.

Martin: Now, there is the Irish wake table which was a table that they actually put the coffin on, and they used to use it for dining afterwards.

I know that I have heard certain myths about doorways and things like that: when it came to the coffins going out, and they had to build doorways in a manner where they would be able to get a coffin through the door.

Mary: That’s silly, yes. Makes no sense at all.

But some myths make us feel superior. Myths like, oh, that the American Indians sold Manhattan for $24, or worthless beads. “Oh, those stupid Indians” we feel so much smarter than that. It’s certainly not true. The Indians weren’t selling anything, because they had no concept of ownership of land anymore than ownership of air, and they were accepting presents, and offering to share, probably. Or the idea that Colonial Americans thought that tomatoes were poisonous. We feel superior about that, because we know better, and “Weren’t they foolish?” Well no they weren’t; they were just as smart as we are.

Martin:  Yes I believe that. Just going back to the Manhattan (myth); if I recall, that was in my childhood history book in school.

Mary: It probably was. There are plenty of these myths in history books. I’ve found several; I reviewed a fourth-grade history book and found four of them.

Martin: Wow. Can you give us some examples?

Mary: One of them was about the massacre of 1622. A Virginia massacre that is often called “The Good Friday Massacre”. If you go online, you can type in Good Friday Massacre and find a whole lot of information about it. The trouble is, Easter that year fell a month after the massacre. It didn’t happen on Good Friday; it was a mistake made by a nineteenth-century clergyman who was putting a religious bend on the story, figuring that it had religious connotations that the Indians were attacking to show their disdain for the religion that was being crammed down their throats. But, (laughing) the calendar doesn’t support this theory. But you’ll find that in textbooks today.

Martin:  Yes. It’s kind of like when history is passed on; it becomes very solid a lot of the time. Especially when it’s in the written word.

Mary: Yes, yes. They had a myth that said that most men wore wigs in the 18th century. Hardly any men wore wigs in the 18th century. They estimate maybe 2 to 5 percent.

Martin:  Like the powdered wigs, you’re talking about?

Mary: Yes, powdered, or unpowdered.

Martin:  Was that like for, do you know the reason that 2 percent did wear them?

Mary: It was a fashion. It was expensive, some men liked it; it was a matter of taste.  Thomas Jefferson seldom, if ever, wore wigs. It was just not something that very many people did; men, or women for that matter.

Martin:  Now Thomas Jefferson had a pretty full head of hair, did it have anything to do with balding, like Adams or anyone like that?

Mary: No, it was just fashion. If you wore a wig regularly, you shaved your head because it would fit better that way.

Martin:  Wow, interesting.  I believe one of the myths you had was about fire screens. Fire screens sometimes in auctions are a very desirable piece that will sell for good money.

Mary: Fire screens, the myth says that fire screens were placed between the lady and the fire so that her wax make-up wouldn’t melt. Makes sense, logical, but fire screens were purely decorative. They were only found in well-to-do homes, as shown by inventories, and women didn’t wear make-up. Most didn’t wear any kind of make-up; they certainly didn’t put wax on their face.  We know this from looking at household management books that tend to have recipes for making your own creams, and anything to do with skin-care. But women didn’t wear make-up, and we know that from the fact that so many European travelers remarked on it. Maybe the upper-class women in France or wherever wore make-up, but not here.

Martin:  Now I also heard something slightly related; that a wing-chair’s whole design and construction was to keep the drafts out. Have you ever heard that one?

Mary: Yes I have heard it, and I haven’t researched it. It has a ring of truth to it, but I can’t say on that one.

Martin:  Okay put that one on your list too (laughing).

Mary: I can tell you another chair one about the roundabout chair.

Martin:  Basically a corner chair.

Mary: A corner chair. And the myth says, and we’ve heard this here in the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond, that the chair was invented to make it easier for men with swords to sit down.
Martin:  Oh.

Mary: And that’s just not true; that chair, as you know from your knowledge of antiques, came in to fashion in the early part of the 1700’s and kind of went out by the end. It was more of a man’s chair; it’s often called a smoking chair, a writing chair, things that were manly things to do. I’ve talked to a number of re-enactors who say it’s actually harder to sit in that chair with a sword, that tried it. But the fact of the matter is men didn’t wear swords indoors, so why would you need a chair to sit on? (Laughing) The two didn’t intersect; so it’s not true. It’s a commonly heard myth though.

Martin:  Yes. Can you go into some of the other ones that are common out there that we hear a lot?

Mary: Well the title of the book being Death By Petticoat…

Martin:  I love that.

Mary: I know, I thought that was cute. The petticoat, being another word for the long skirt that women wore in the 17th and 18th centuries, the myth says that you will, and you will hear this particularly in New England in kitchens, that the most common cause of death for women was burning to death when the petticoat brushed against the fire in the hearth. This is a horrific way to die, and I’m sure there certainly were some people who did die by burning, but it was rare. The most common cause of death for women was not childbirth either. It was disease.

Martin:  Yes, I know if you look back at the Civil War, most of the men that died, of the six hundred thousand, a large portion of them was disease.

Mary: Right. Let me think of some that have to do with antiques. One is the quilt designs; that there are secret codes to help escaping slaves in the Underground Railroad. If you ever say this (laughing), I will come to haunt you.

Martin:  I haven’t heard that one.

Mary: Well it’s actually fairly recent. It started, I think, in the 1980’s; about 30 years ago. And it’s very complicated; it would take a show on its own just to go through it, but the myth says that the slaves made the quilt patterns to give secret messages about escaping; you know, “go north” is the flying geese pattern, because geese flew north.  Well, who needs to sew a quilt to say “go north”?

Martin:  (Laughing) That seems like a lot of work.

Mary: Go north. You just say it! And there are many quilt patterns that are supposedly part of this story, but they didn’t even exist until the 1920’s. They’re relatively new quilt patterns, so there are just all kinds of ways that this is bunk, but there are people making a good bit of money off of it, selling quilts that are supposedly Underground Railroad secret-code quilts.

Martin:  Well I just thought of something, it’s not really a myth, but, had you ever heard of where the term “grandfather clock” had come from?

Mary: Yes, that’s one of the myths.

Martin:  Oh it is.

Mary: That’s one of the myths that they had at the DAR Museum. I didn’t use that one in the book, but it was not called a grandfather clock until later in the 19th century, and they believe it did tie into that song.

Martin:  Right. Now the DAR is the Daughters of the American Revolution. The other one that I had heard that was sort of a myth was that Paul Revere was so spectacular. It was because of a poem that was written and that’s what made him later on, I think it was a 19th century poem, that made him really popular; he was just one of the (many) people that were involved.

Mary: Yes. And I’m not taking anything away from Paul Revere; he was a marvelous silversmith, and a great patriot, but it’s almost a shame to give him all the credit when the credit was widespread. He did a courageous thing, but so did a lot of other people. But we have similar stories here in Virginia; it’s not just a Massachusetts story. It was people riding to warn the countryside about troops coming.  The myth part of it is that Paul Revere rode around shouting that the “British were coming, the British were coming” because they were the British.  That would make no sense. He would have said “the Regulars are coming” or something like that because it would have meant nothing to people to say…

Martin:  Wow that’s something I never would have thought of. I understand; because everybody was British at the time. And then it went into the Loyalists after the change. I guess it was the Loyalists right at the start of the revolution and then all the way through, right?

Mary: Oh sure, some historians estimate that a third of the population was loyal to the king, and about a third wanted independence, and the other third didn’t much care; was going to sit around and see which way the wind blows.

Martin:  That’s kind of like the election coming up, I think.

Mary: It probably is, and you might be able to say that about just about any controversial subject. The Loyalists were always around, and many just kept quiet and stayed, and many left and went back to England, or Canada, or wherever.

Martin:  Now I want to talk a little bit about home construction because I had heard this myth or rumor, or whatever, years ago, that what’s called the balloon construction, you know, the 2 by 4 construction, was never meant to be a permanent house. It was built temporarily and then it caught on; have you ever heard anything like that?

Mary: No.

Martin:  Any others pertaining to home construction in this country?

Mary: Well there’s the one I call my most embarrassing myth; the one I used to tell.  When I was a tour guide at Colonial Williamsburg in the 70’s, I learned this from another docent; we really weren’t trained to say it but that’s one way myths spread. The myth says that sometimes stairs were built with one riser shorter than the rest so that it would trip up a burglar sneaking up in the middle of the night; even steps, even steps, and then boom; the foot comes down hard because of the riser. You know, it made sense, but of course it’s not true, the truth is that stairs are hard to build, and if you’re a sixteenth of an inch off, or a thirty-second of an inch off, on each step, by the time you get to the top, you could be an inch off! What are you supposed to do? You think anybody’s going to tear down a whole flight of stairs and start over? No, they’re just going to have the last step a little shorter.

Martin:  I have actually been moving furniture out of a home that had a step like that, and each and every time you step on that you do the same thing; it’s pretty funny. I can see how a burglar would be heard, doing that. Are there any other ones related to early construction that you can think of?

Mary: Well, there is the myth that the early settlers built log cabins.  The first settlers, whether they were Spanish in Florida, or French in Canada or English in Virginia; they did not know how to build log cabins.  That wasn’t the way construction went where they were from. Log cabins don’t come in to America until the Scandinavians brought them, because that is how they built them in Norway, or Sweden, and that would have been in about the middle 1600’s. Then because of all our forests, it was a really good idea so it was the default house for a frontier; the easiest, quickest thing to build. But as soon as you were into a permanent town or something, you built wooden houses or brick houses.

Martin:  Now I know the thatched roof, sometimes you see renderings of early settlements and a lot of times you see the thatched roofs. Indeed the European influence; they were doing what they knew.

Mary: Sure. How would you do anything else? It’s not like you brought a lot of construction manuals with you.

Martin:  Were there any myths that you researched that were surprising to you that were actually true?

Mary: Yes there were. The myth that some craftspeople told me about that wigs were baked in loaves of bread to set the hair. And I thought that if anything is a myth, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Of course it’s a myth, right? Well when I did the research, I found actually, I learned how the myth got started. I mean yes it’s a myth in its overt sense, but there is some truth in it. Making wigs out of human hair was hard; it was rather an involved process. I won’t go into all the details, but when you have wet hair on curlers that you are trying to set, how are you going to dry them? You’re not going to whip out your hair dryer; you’re going to have to dry them in an oven because that’s the only place for heat. There was a style of wigs that was a frizzy style that would take an extra step, and you would take it to an oven; to a bakery where they have ovens, and you would put paste around the curlers and bake it. Well, what is paste? Flour and water. So you’re actually putting flour and water paste around this bunch of curlers, which happened to be called a loaf, and you’re putting it in the oven to set, and you crack the paste open, and the curlers are there, and it’s frizzy, and you make your wig. So, yes it is kind of true. The myth takes it too far, but it is kind of true.

Martin:  A lot of times, what kind of crosses over into the antique business, is something is called something, and a lot of times people wonder why. I don’t know if you can think of anything; right off the bat something that comes to me, is what’s called the “spill vase”. I had heard it’s a spill vase because it spills over easily because it’s small like a bud vase; when in fact, spill was little pieces of wood and tiny pieces of paper that were by the fireplace mantel, that people used to use to start fires with. There a lot of things that must carry over; not particularly just in antiques, but the wording always has people wondering why it’s worded as such or why it’s called something. Can you think of anything that’s called a peculiar name that we use today, and wonder why it’s called that?

Mary: Yes, I think so. The idea that when you have a piece of silver and it’s stamped “coin”, that that means it was made from melted down coins. Coin silver was made from melted down coins; that’s the myth.

Martin:  I have heard that before, yes.

Mary: It was not. That isn’t to say it never happened. We know a case where George Washington actually did melt down some silver coins to make some little cups, but it was rare. Coin silver is just a reference to the silver content in the piece; that it was 90% silver, as opposed to 92.5%, which is sterling. Ninety percent was the same as the coins back in the days when coins actually had silver in them. So it’s telling you the standard, not the origin.

Martin:  Well here’s what I’ve heard passed around, in particular to coin silver: It was used as tableware and as currency.

Mary: Well, that would be true, because if it’s real silver, why not? You could actually melt your spoons down and pay your debt; it’s not 100% silver, it’s 90%, but you weigh it just like you weigh coins. Merchants had scales so they could weigh their coins and their silver or their gold; otherwise you didn’t know.

Martin:  Right, and I know in Europe, for instance, assayer’s marks, as far as sterling silver, was very well documented for many, many years.

Mary: Yes. I can tell you a couple myths about paintings.

Martin:  Oh I’d love to hear that.

Mary: There’s one that you hear commonly that men were posed with one hand inside their vest because it saved money; the portrait painter would charge less if he didn’t have to paint a hand.

Martin:  Oh, hands are one of the most difficult things to paint; I have heard that, yes.

Mary: Hands are difficult, but that isn’t why men posed, you know, Napoleon, George Washington, or whomever, with their hand inside their vest, that was just a dignified pose for men for several hundred years, so you see it a lot.

Martin:  Before you move on to the next thing, I had heard something about Napoleon’s hand; he had some type of physical issue that made him always (laughing) push on his chest. When I was a kid, I had heard that.

Mary: Gosh I don’t know what that’s about. But you think that Napoleon, or King George III were worried about paying their portrait painter? That’s not the issue; it has nothing to do with money; it’s just a dignified pose.

Martin:  Yes. What’s the other one about paintings?

Mary: The other one is about… this is the one I wish were true, because it makes such sense; I’m really sad that this isn’t true. The myth is about folk art portraits. It says that folk artists would paint the bodies and the background…

Martin:  Yea! You’re going to tell me that’s not true?

Mary: I’m sorry.

Martin:  I’ve heard that for years.

Mary: Yes it make such sense because you could just imagine in the winter the itinerant artist is home, can’t travel, so he paints all these bodies and backgrounds and then he loads them up on his cart come spring, and he goes out, and all he has to do is paint the heads, and it’s so efficient … but it’s just… there’s no documentation for it. There has never been a headless portrait found. On the other hand there are many portraits, or some portraits, that are just heads; that haven’t been finished. What a portrait artist will tell you, is you paint the face first.

Martin:  Yes you start with the eyes first; I’m a painter.

Mary: Oh, well then you know.  But the reason; why is this myth; how did it start? Well when you look at a piece of folk art, especially a portrait: the perspective is off; the hands are too big, or the arms are too long, or the head is oversized. And it looks as if somebody is just slapping a head on a body, when that is really just a reflection of the unschooled artist.

Martin:  Now, are there any, besides paintings, are there any antiques that you can think of that there are myths about?

Mary: Well, have you ever said the one about the “fainting couch” that was invented during Victorian times, that when a tightly-corseted woman felt faint, she had a place to fall?

Martin:  I’ve heard that one, yes.

Mary: Well, I’m afraid that doesn’t have a lot of truth to it. As you probably know, that is not a very accurate term to use; fainting couch. Those sort of daybed kind of furniture sofas have been around since Egyptian times and Roman times, and they weren’t to catch women when they fainted. There’s also a myth that says in some houses there was a “fainting room”. Can you imagine some woman saying “Oh can you excuse me, I’m feeling faint. Could you guide me to the fainting room?”

Martin:  It better be close by.

Mary: A daybed was just a fashionable piece of furniture, and a lot of Victorian parlors had them.

Martin:  So where did the term “fainting (couch)” come from?

Mary: Probably came from more like 20th century people putting our own ideas, was seemed logical to us, imposing it on the past.

Martin:  Yes. One thing I want to point out, there is a real misconception because of our technological abilities, that we just assume people were not smart, or as smart as us, and I’m telling you, if you really look into this, they were just as smart as we were probably 100,000 years ago. A lot of the myths are along the lines of thinking they weren’t as smart as we are.

Mary: Yes, well like the one about the Victorians being so prudish that they would dress their naked furniture legs.

Martin:  Yes.

Mary: We feel so superior; how silly that is. Well, I haven’t seen any evidence that that ever happened.

Martin:  It was again just fashion of…?

Mary: I’ve never seen it. Show me an actual photo or print that shows a leg of a table or a piano or whatever with a skirt around it. I’ve never seen one, and I’ve looked. I’ve looked hard, but I’ve never seen one.

Martin:  There are the dressing tables.

Mary:  That’s a skirt. Yes.

Martin:  Yes they were skirted.

Mary:  And we do that today, I mean we put a tablecloth on a table that goes all the way to the ground. That’s from the top to the ground.

Martin:  So you’re saying during Victorian times they didn’t cover the legs of furniture.

Mary: No. I’ve looked and looked, and I haven’t seen a single example in any photograph of any Victorian interior that shows that. I think it came, well I know it came from a book; Frederick Marryat, who was an English traveler, and he was sort of a satirist, and he made fun of the Americans and how prudish they were. This would be in about the 1830’s, 1840’s. He was poking fun by saying he was at a girl’s school and the mistress of the school was such a fussbudget or whatever that she dressed all the pianos with little trousers and little skirts, so they wouldn’t see any legs. So he’s making fun of it, and I think that may have led to the idea that this really did happen; if it did, it’s rare. It certainly isn’t typical.

Martin:  Do you have another example of furniture in earlier times?

Mary: Yes, I’m thinking of the petticoat mirrors. You probably call these pier tables; I mean correctly they would be called pier tables. And there’s often a mirror,

Martin:  On the lower side, yes.

Mary: And the myth says that these were called petticoat mirrors because their purpose was so that women could make sure there petticoat wasn’t showing; they could walk by the mirror and check. Well that isn’t the purpose; it was a light reflection purpose. I’ve had some friends who work in costume in Victorian historic houses and they say actually you can’t look at your petticoat in those mirrors the way they are tilted; you would have to get so far back you’d be outside of the house to get a good angle on it, so it wasn’t really possible to see your petticoat. Makes sense today, so we repeat it and we think it’s true.

Martin:  Yes. We’re about ready to wrap this up, do you have one more that you can throw at us?

Mary: Well I’ll give you one that is really commonly heard. This is about food; that cooks were using spices to mask the flavor and odors of rotting food. You hear rotting meat, and that was what they wanted spices for. Sometimes this statement is made about the medieval era, and sometimes it’s made about the colonial period, or even up to the nineteenth century, but in any case, it’s false. The spices that we consider common today, like pepper, were really, really, expensive because they came from the Spice Islands, which would be like Indonesia and Sri Lanka and such. And nutmeg, cinnamon cloves; only the wealthiest people could have afforded these spices. These are not the kind of people that eat rotting meat. Spices were so valuable that they were kept in locked cupboards. They were used very sparingly. Not to cover up rotting meat.

Martin:  I have heard that some spices were more valuable than gold. I’ve heard that before. One that I have heard that just came to mind sort of along those lines is that in early times that people wouldn’t bathe all winter long. Is that (laughing) really true?

Mary: Well, (laughing) probably for some people. But that’s the myth that says people didn’t bathe back then; whenever. If bathing means getting a big tub of hot water and sitting in it, then yes; people did not bathe like that in the old days. But they did wash. They washed in a small tub that had a few inches of water that you would sort of stand in, or they would wash like a sponge bath with the water and the wash stand in their bedrooms. Most people washed, as far as we can tell; washed hands and face daily, and they weren’t really quite as dirty as we like to think That’s another one of our ideas that we are so superior today and they were so inferior, but really most people kept pretty clean, maybe it was a little bit more work, when you think about how much work it would have been to have a hot bath; pumping water, heating it on the stove, carrying it upstairs, and then having to reverse the process; carrying it back down, dumping it out. No, they didn’t bath like that; but they washed.

Martin:  Yes. Well I think that’s a really good one to end it on. Can you tell the listening audience where they would find your books, or book?

Mary:  This book is Death by Petticoat, and it should be available in any Barnes and Noble or any independent book store, and if not, it’s available Barnes and Noble online, or Amazon.com. Death by Petticoat, published by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Martin:  If you go to this podcast, just below there will be a link to find that book. Thank you so much, Mary.

Mary: You’re very welcome.

Martin:  This is Martin Willis with Mary Miley Theobald, and we’re signing off.


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