Morning Breath

Dental hygiene is not a new concept. There are records of dental hygiene and tooth cleaning in Ancient Egypt, and breath “mints” were used as early as 1600 BCE in China. However, it wasn’t until the 1800s when what we would recognize as toothbrushes and tooth pastes are appearing. Toothbrushes look similar to what we…

Smelling like a Rose

As noted in our last blog post, the Great Unwashed was often used to describe the working class so the middle and upper classes could distance themselves from their social inferiors. While bathing was normal, commercial deodorant wouldn’t be available until the 20th century. The upper and middle classes smelled strongly of soap, and preferably…

Historic Hygiene: Series Intro Post

When giving tours to school children, without a doubt someone will find the chamber pot hidden in its cubby upstairs. Children giggle and parents smirk at the mention of our unmentionables. That often results in long discussions about historic hygiene. In fact, when talking to friends or guests, our director Sammy Kay Smith is often…

Say I Do!

T’is the season of engagements. For the past two years, I’ve known someone who’s gotten engaged over the holiday season and it’s certainly a popular gift. But then the fun starts… planning a wedding. This means dress shopping, tux rentals, engagement parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers, catering tasting, cake tasting, choosing colors, venues,…

The Great Scandal of Spring Hill

We’d like to thank MassMu Archivist, Mandy Altimus Pond, for uncovering this slightly scandalous part of our history. First, some backstory: In 1854, Arvine Chaffee Wales inherited Spring Hill from his father, Arvine Wales (or as we call him, Arvine One). A few months after his father’s death, his step mother, Nancy Shepherdson Wales, passed…

Early American Christmas: Religious or Debauchery? Part Two

**Notice: This post will include discussion of alcohol, intoxication, sexual misconduct, and cross-dressing. Nothing will be explicit, but please be aware before allowing younger history enthusiasts to read. Check out Part One of this post for information on the religious history of Christmas in Early America. While many people celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday,…

Early American Christmas: Religious or Debauchery? Part One

**Notice: This post will include discussion of alcohol, intoxication, sexual misconduct, and cross-dressing. Nothing will be explicit, but please be aware before allowing younger history enthusiasts to read. Today, we fight over whether Christmas should be a secular or sacred holiday. Secularists call it good family fun, with Santa and a time for families to…

A Step-By-Step Guide to Victorian Mourning

**Disclaimer: Spring Hill is not making fun of or light of death. However, because we are exploring Mourning habits, we thought we’d share this fun, silly, and education guide. We promise, mourning the Victorian way isn’t as difficult as it seems. Just follow our steps below! 1. Someone dies (we suggest waiting and not taking…

(Queen) Victoria Mourning

After the death of her husband, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria of England plunged into mourning. A political match had turned into a beautiful, 21 year marriage, with the two clearly in love with one another. Victoria mourned deeply, wearing black for the rest of her life, including to some of her own children’s weddings. She…