18th century blogging round-up: material culture

It’s a cold and miserable November Houston morning, with temps in the 40s, and too much to do this week.  Instead of doing my real work, I’ll bring together some of the most interesting 18c blogging that I’ve run into this week:

1.  Tim Burke’s Easily Distracted outlines his long-running Social History of Consumption course, with tons of interesting readings on the transition from early modern to modern patterns of consumption, with prominent attention early on to the now-classic arguments of Weatherill, Porter and Brewer, and Breen.  As he points out, the most intriguing thing going on here is its “subtext” as a course in methodology for history, since those readings “run the gamut from rigorously quantitative economic history to off-the-wall cultural commentary.”

2. Jem at This Gaudy Guilded Stage blogs Lynn Festa’s 2005 ECL article on 18c wigs, and notes the creepy fact that the wigs were made of human hair, which had to be harvested and reworked.  If you’ve ever seen any of the pictures of late 18c wigs, like this one, you’ll see that this meant a lot of hair.  [UPDATE: I’ve added a Project MUSE link to the Festa piece, for those whose libraries subscribe]  [incidentally, would anyone be interested in blogging Festa’s new book?]


I’ve taken the illustration from Michael Kwass’s “Big Hair: A History of Wig Consumption in 18c France,” from AHR, 2006, which anyone interested in hair-as-a-commodity should check out.

3. This is an older reference, but I thought others might find it pertinent.  Rene at Age of Enlightenment (not too active lately) has a review of Gilly Lehmann’s The British Housewife.  The most interesting observation is that the intended audiences for these cookbooks seems to have shifted over the course of the century from housewives to professional cooks, though mainly female cooks. 

Thoughts, comments, suggestions?


4 responses to “18th century blogging round-up: material culture

  1. The link to the wigs post is FUBAR…

  2. OK, that should work now. Thanks, Sharon. DM

  3. On wigs, check out these great posts from Boston 1775 (a mind-bogglingly prolific and excellent blog):


  4. Thanks, Greg, for these links. This really is a beautifully put together blog. DM