Thursday, August 18, 2011


Today, the ritual of mourning may be considered ghoulish and morbid, but in Victorian America, death was discussed open and honestly.  After all, it was ever present, with high infant mortality and risk in childbirth, disease and warfare.  Queen Victoria's influence on weddings and funerals had a major impact on the world. While her white wedding dress tradition carries on today, many of the mourning customs slowly died out when she passed away in 1901 so that by the 1920s, most of these rituals had vanished.
"Gone But Not Forgotten" to help promote a better understanding of how our ancestors handled death and mourning.   People were born at home and died at home and were buried most times in a family plot on the property.
But after the Civil War, funeral practices really got started and with it came a whole set of customs.  It is quite a fascinating history and that is why Hearthside will devote the month of October to a special exhibit,  

Gone But Not Forgotten
The popular Victorian epitaph, Gone But Not Forgotten, captures the theme well...while many of today's funeral practices came from the Victorian era, many don't know that or are aware of some of the other practices that are no longer done.

 Black draping will adorn both the outside and inside of Hearthside, covering windows, mirrors and pictures, giving all who pass by the message that this is a house in mourning.

 The occasion will be the funeral of former Hearthside owner, Simon E. Thornton, who died on May 2, 1873.  His body was prepared at the house by the undertaker, who came with his equipment and a portable embalming table. 

The coffin was displayed in the Drawing Room where visitors would come and pay their respects.  Following the ceremony(which in this case will be throughout the month), the coffin would be carried out of the house and into a waiting hearse to bring it to the grave site for burial.
Partner in this event will be Bellows-Falso Funeral Home of Lincoln.  As the oldest operating funeral home in New England, there was a good chance that they had handled Mr. Thornton's service, and sure enough, a review of their records from 1873 shows they did!
Hearthside's event will include a realistic depiction of Simon Thornton's funeral, with a complete set up of coffin, funeral lamps, and embalming table.

The docents will be dressed in mourning attire and all guests will receive the traditional funeral biscuit wrapped in white paper and sealed with black wax as a favor.  Exhibits will include hair and mourning jewelry, post-mortem photography, mourning art, mourning clothing and the stages of mourning, memoriam cards and poetry.

This will make for a very interesting and educational month.
This is the schedule of events.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Look and plans for my Tea Corner

Every year, after my birthday in June, I make many new changes in my life. Around early July, I had planned to close up my tea Corner to down size , to save much need funds. I began a long agonizing plan to dismantle my place and start getting rid of a lot of my precious things.
After two months, I became very depressed and overwhelm. I was not able to move a thing. I love the salon so much that I became ill just the thought of breaking it down and packing my life in boxes.
After long sleepless nights, I have decided not to make that move.
I will be remodeling and redesigning the Tea Corner. So stay in tune for the  new look of "Lady Estelle's Tea Corner."

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My Victorian Hostess Gown

Honorable Mention:

Costume Contest USA Entry 29.) Dress: Historic Hearthside House Hostess Gown Victorian Costume Contest

Victorian Dress Costume ContestComment by JUDGE Lisa Schnapp: 8/15/2010

"Lovely, glowing creation blended of soft, feminine hues. A stunning gown that embodies Victorian style femininity..."

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