Victorian Fashion at the 1873 Beekman House: “The Well Dressed Victorian”
JACKSONVILLE, OR—No clothing style in history is as popular as Victorian Era fashion—although there was no single Victorian style, given that the Era is generally considered to have spanned over 50 years from 1837 to the late 1890s coinciding with the Industrial Revolution, a rising middle class, and the invention of the sewing machine. Join Historic Jacksonville, Inc. at the historic Beekman House Museum on Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18, when we showcase styles from the Civil War period through the Edwardian age including garments from the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s collection.
The 1873 Beekman House Museum is located at 470 E. California Street in Jacksonville and was home to the town’s wealthiest and most prominent family. One-hour tours will begin every 20 minutes between 12n and 3pm with docents costumed in fashions that would have been appropriate for typical Victorian activities in each room of the house. Docents will be sharing information on their particular Clothing style, its evolution, and the SOHS garments being showcased. Styles include fashions appropriate for social calls, travel, daytime activities, formal dinners, mourning, country outings, servants, undergarments, and more. Admission is $10, and tickets can be purchased at https://www.historicjacksonville.org/victorian-theme-tours/
“Our apologies to the gentlemen,” says Carolyn Kingsnorth, President of Historic Jacksonville,Inc. “The fashions we are featuring were worn by ladies. However, the gentlemen are well represented—they were the fashion designers! And their designs represent what they thought women should look like. They often bore little relationship to reality with exaggerated curves, impossibly tiny waistlines, gigantic hoop skirts, outrageous bustles, and skirts with trains when so many streets were still little more than mud holes. Comfort and practicality were never taken into consideration!
“Of course, this was also a time when a young lady was expected to be meek and mild and to be subject to her father's or husband's wishes. A woman's intelligence and wit were restricted to social events and amusing conversation. Any employment opportunities were limited to being a governess, being a servant, and later to factory or mill work.” She continues, “However, the clothing is gorgeous; the detail is amazing; and I only wish I could fit into some of these outfits!
Some of the designs and expectations may have been outlandish, but it was also a time of civility, and manners—and perhaps there are some lessons for us today!”
Beekman House Museum * 470 E. California Street * Jacksonville. Admission: $10 *
Walk-ups accommodated based on space available.