The Ladies' Tea Guild

Monday, October 31, 2011

Celebrate Halloween the Victorian way: with Parlor Amusements from Godey's Lady's Book!

Bobbing for apples. Image: http//
Of course, you could pull out the old washtub and get some apples for traditional apple-bobbing, you could hang an apple from a string and have your friends try to bite it without using their hands, or play other old-fashioned games tonight, (even if you're going out trick-or-treating), but why not create some science "magic" in your own parlor (or living room, or kitchen)?  Here are some of the safer-sounding "parlor amusements" from Godey's Lady's Book of 1855:

The magic whirlpool.—Fill a glass tumbler with water, throw upon its surface a few fragments or thin shavings of camphor, and they will instantly begin to move and acquire a motion both progressive and rotary, which will continue for a considerable time.  During these rotations, if the water be touched by any substance which is at all greasy, the floating particles will quickly dart back, and as if by a stroke of magic, be instantly deprived of their motion and vivacity.
Telling fortunes with apple peels.
Image: http//

Visible and invisible.—Write with a piece of French chalk on the looking-glass, wipe it with a handkerchief, and the characters will be invisible; breathe on it, and they will reappear; this change will take place a considerable number of times.  This is a curious fact, and at one time was considered a great secret."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A new post (finally!): "Autumn Days" -- a poem from 1855.

Image: Nikolay Dimitrov.


‘Tis Autumn time! the summer flowers
Have faded ‘neath its golden feet;
The birds have left their shady bowers,
And winds chime mournfully and sweet;
The maple boughs, whose folded leaves
Have whispered through the summer days
Like bright-winged birds, around the eaves
Are flitting in the sun’s pale rays;
I hear their rustling low and sweet,
As if an angel floated o’er;
They seem to me like friends I meet,
And love, then part forever more.

The dreamy lull of limpid streams;
The azure haze that floats above,
Enshroud earth as mysterious dreams,
O’er all our spirits softly move.
Spirit of dreams! oh, I would bless
Thy soft luxurious charms for aye,
And fold thee in my soul’s caress,
Now and forever till I die!
Oh, chide me not! the low wind rhymes,
Full many a plaintive trembling lay,
And I could listen to her hymns,
Till I had breathed my life away.
-- published in the October 1855 issue of Godey's Lady's Book

Monday, October 10, 2011

100 years of voting rights for California women!

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild celebrating the Woman's
Suffrage Centennial at Satori Tea Bar!
San Jose joins the rest of California in celebrating an important milestone: the centennial anniversary of women being granted the vote in California!  In 1911 the Women’s Suffrage Amendment was finally passed by both houses of the California Legislature, and it was signed into law on October 10, 1911 by the governor, under the eye of Clara Foltz, the first female lawyer on the Pacific coast of North America, who lived and practiced in San Jose.

The work began in 1840, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, along with other female American delegates to the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, were not allowed to sit in the convention hall and participate, because of their gender.  They realized the many similarities between the conditions of racial slavery and gender inequality, and resolved to address the issue on their return to the U.S.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Celebrate 100 years of California women's right to vote!

Chicago Woman's Suffrage parade marching
costume, 1916.  Library of Congress.
California was one of the early western states that paved the way for the national amendment, and California's woman's suffrage amendment was passed on October 10, 1911 after many years of work and education on the part of the state's suffrage supporters.  This wonderful centennial anniversary is being marked all over the state throughout 2011, and the celebrations are especially numerous this month, the anniversary month of the event.  The South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild will be celebrating in San Jose this coming weekend!  Gentlemen and well-behaved children welcome to attend. 

Date: Sat., October 8; noon march, tea at 1 p.m.
Location: march from the Knox-Goodrich Building @ 1st and S. Santa Clara St.; tea at Satori Tea Bar in San Pedro Square.
Cost: $7 per person (for a "Votes for Women" sash and to pay our re-enactor); pay for your own tea and refreshments.
Suggested Costume: day dress from the 1840s through 1911, "suffragettes."
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)