|Harriet Burnett's dress,|
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
There was no further description or mention of the event itself, although an interview with someone who was there, done many years later, and published in 1941, has the woman recalling that the ball was "the" event for the Bay Area for years afterwards. I think the only place where I could find a fuller description of the ball, would be in the letters or journal of someone (a woman) who was there, but I don't know of any journals or letters from 1849 in San Jose that have been published, or are available to the public! I think I'm at a dead end in verifying the provenance of the dress, so I've just made a record for it in the museum database, saying that the dress "is said to have been worn" at the Inauguration Ball. I'll have to leave it at that for now. It's been really fun reading all those old newspapers, though. I found a website, the California Digital Newspaper Collection, that has scanned the papers into digital form and made them readable (you can enlarge the printing from the teeny-tiny original size!).
I've also bought two new books in the last few months. I've been watching the Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, and Wartime Farm series on YouTube for the past few months, and I recently bought the companion book to Wartime Farm and Victorian Farm. They are so much fun to read, with a lot of cool information, although I wish they went deeper into each topic instead of giving only 2 to 4 pages to each chapter. I totally want to be like Ruth Goodman when I grow up! And the guys on the team, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn, get into some pretty cool projects themselves. I wish someone would do the same kind of show here in the U.S. -- the "Frontier House" and similar shows were more Hollywood-reality shows than historical documentaries -- because I would love to participate!