The Ladies' Tea Guild

Friday, June 12, 2015

Clothing the Californio, part 4 -- the Gold Rush era.

Governor Don Pio Pico, his wife, and nieces, ca. 1850,
San Diego Historical Society.
By the time California entered the United States in 1850, the social and political climate of the state was radically changing.  Hispanic immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America, entered California and headed to the gold mines, bringing their own culture with them.  Non-Hispanic immigrants to the state no longer acclimated themselves to California's previous culture, and they competed with the Californios for land, status, resources, and political clout.  Many Californio women married non-Hispanic men during this time period not only because the newcomers were different and exciting, but because to do so helped secure their property (an English-speaking man to manage their affairs as local law became much more English and American in influence) and social status.  During this time, Californio families began to identify themselves with Spanish European culture, in opposition to the non-Californio residents' characterization of all Hispanic people as Mexican and therefore "non-white", as well as to avoid association with the political and social unrest happening in the Republic of Mexico.  Californios began to wear the same styles and garments that other Americans wore, and look just as Victorian as someone from the East Coast during the same time period.

Californio men, women and children listening to music.
Ca. 1850.  Library of Congress.
A good place to look for information about this transitional period in California fashion is the costume manual for the docents at Sutter's Fort Historic Park, who portray Californios as well as all the other people groups, who were present at Sutter's Fort during the Gold Rush.  You can purchase a copy of the manual from the gift shop there; just call or write, and they'll tell you how much it costs and where to send your payment.  
Carmel Cota Lodge y Castro,
Mrs. Thomas Fallon, ca. 1875.
History San Jose

Alta California Clothing group on Facebook 
Bazant, Jan "Evolution of the Textile Industry of Puebla 1544-1845", Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Oct 1964), pp. 56-69. Cambridge University Press. 
"California as I SawIt" from the Library of Congress 
"Colonial SpanishTerms", Somos Primos website 
Dana, Richard Henry, TwoYears Before the Mast, at Project Gutenberg 
de Bafarás, Joachin Antonio, Origen, costumbres, y estado presente de mexicanos y phillpinos (1763).
Katzew, Ilona, “Casta Painting” here and at Google Books 
Mabry, Donald J.  “Society in Colonial Spanish America”.  2001.   
Museo de America, in Madrid, Spain 
Nunis, Doyce B., Jr., The drawings of Ignacio Tirsch, a Jesuit missionary in Baja California. Elbeth Schulz-Bischof, translator. Dawson's Book Shop, Los Angeles, 1972.
Ramirez, Yasmin, "NewWorld Orders: Casta Painting and Colonial Latin America" at the Americas Society, ArtNet magazine, December 1996, New York.  
Ribeiro, Aileen. Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 1715-1789. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.
Rickman, David. "IntoHistory" blog
Sutter's Fort Clothing, 1840s (student handout) 
"Textiles of Mexico" Wikipedia entry 

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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)