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MStuart
07-30-2006, 04:58 PM
For those of us "mainstreamers".....Here's the setting: (and let's not let this devolve into an "it just wouldn't happen" thing.....I know 99% of the time civilians wouldn't be in camp) But you have an army garrison "camp" such as winter quarters or an occupied town/area. Civilian ladies visit the camps (i.e. a mainstream event). What should the soldiers do to maintain the manners and decorum of the day?

If the lady is in close proximity to a particular "mess" of men, should the soldiers always have a vest on if not wearing their uniform jackets?

Should the soldiers always wear their hats when the lady is present? And here's my particular ignorance........when greeting a lady and "tipping" the hat, is the hat just touched, or should it be completely lifted from the head, and, how far?

How should they address the lady? For instance, if it was my wife, would it be appropriate to address her as "Mrs. Stuart" (formal) or the informal "Miss Wanda"? Would it be any different if she was a "laundress" who was in the camp often, or, just an infrequent visitor? How should the other soldiers of our "mess" address her?

Mainstream events sometimes are called "family camping". But be that as it may, we might as well kick it up a notch with the etiquette IMHO. Just what should or shouldn't a man do with ladies in the camp area?

There's been some good links posted, along with the Godey's publications, but the one's I've seen usually cover the "civilian" type settings of dinner manners and such. Lot's of spectaters come through the camps and it would be an added "plus" to have the appropriate decorum whilst they're there.

Any and all help is appreciated.

Mark

bizzilizzit
07-30-2006, 06:37 PM
Here's my two cents Mark:

Gentlemen wearing only their shirts (and pants) in camp is equivalent to wearing just their underwear in public. If a lady is in camp, and I underline LADY, put on your vest AND jacket.

Hats in public are correct for both ladies and gentlemen. A man should not tip or just touch his hat to a lady - it is considered an insult. Like being too lazy to actually take it off. You can either just lift it or make a bow with it. Either is proper when being introduced to or welcoming a visitor. It is improper behavior to introduce yourself to a lady. Quite a vulgar move, indeed. If you pass a lady you do not know at an event, ignore her. Unless she is in need of your help (too many packages or she falls in the mud) tipping your hat, saying hello, or even a smile could put you in the provost's care for assault. She needs to make the first move. If she acknowledges you, then do the same in kind. I know this is considered rude in out times, but it is proper behavior between two strangers of the 19th century.

A Mrs. is NEVER addressed as a Miss. Another insult. She's married, and most likely darn proud of it. Address her so. A Miss Wanda is ok for a young unmarried lady. An older unmarried lady would be Miss Topping. Unless you are family or intimate friends, do not use a married or older unmarried lady's first name. If the laundress is legit, address her as above. If it's some Major's "cousin" (after he's entertained two other cousins that week) address her as she's been introduced to you. Otherwise the Major may have you hog-tied for insulting his guest.

Hope this helped!
Elizabeth Topping

MStuart
07-30-2006, 06:55 PM
It has, indeed!! If you can go even further as I'm sure I've only asked about my particular ignorances. What can we do to further the "authenticity" in interacting with civilians in camp? Certainly standing when a lady approaches the camp would be correct, but would asking "can I help you?" be appropriate after standing and before she speaks?

Walking to sutler row, would it be appropriate to do so with a soldiers' leather accouterments (saber belt or cartridge belt) on?

The glove issue confuses me a lot, too. When does a man wears them with a lady and what type (I always assumed the white cotton ones).

Mark

bizzilizzit
07-30-2006, 08:32 PM
A lady should not be entering your camp alone or unannounced. If either occurs, she would be lost or bold. You should rise whenever a woman enters your camp (or room) and remove your hat. Wait for an introduction from her escort. If two ladies (or one bold one) wonder into your camp, stand up, remove your hat, and ask if they/she needs assistance. They/she should not need to ask you for directions. Offer to escort them/her to their/her destination and make sure they/she is left in the care of the person they/she seeks. If that person is out of camp, offer them/her a chair and something to drink and stay with them/her until they/she is handed over safely.

Sutler row is equal to shopping in town. If you are a soldier, leave your musket and sword at your tent. Sidearms would be ok, except I think most event organizers would frown on it. Anything else you wish to wear is acceptable. Except your nightcap. Proper headgear should be worn in public areas.

Gloves should be worn in public areas if you are a gentleman. If you are of the working class you have more important things to spend your money on. If you are with a lady, gloves should be worn, esp. if there is ANY chance of your skin coming in contact such as helping her up/down stairs or hills by holding her hand or dancing. If you are dining (not eating, as in camp) then gloves are to be worn. Hygiene wasn’t like it is now and that is one of the reasons why gloves are worn. Kid gloves should be worn for formal events such as dinners and balls. Cotton gloves are acceptable at barn dances and other camp events.

Elizabeth Topping

ElizabethClark
07-30-2006, 08:52 PM
Just to clarify the situation:

There's a garrison of soldiers. Citizens are potentially visiting the garrison.

(This situation would have great potential for a history-heavy event, so one shouldn't assume it would only be seen at a local "smorgasboard" sort of event.)

What rules of behavior govern their interaction?

Unescorted citizens shouldn't be present in a military camp. Miss Topping has given a pretty handy rundown on how they should present themselves at the guard post, present papers, gain an escort, etc.

I'd strongly ditto using Mrs. Surname as the form of address. "Miss Given Name" is a very informal modern use--sounds "old fashioned-y", so some folks think it must be appropriate to mid-century. One thing I find interesting in many letters I've read mid-century is the often-formal language: a woman writing to her good friend of her grown children's lives, and referring to her daughters as Mrs. Married Name, her husband as Mr. Surname, etc. (Of course, some letters use "Heard from Jane; Bertie is ill with measles, and John will go for the doctor if he's not well soon."--there are few true absolutes, but you can't go wrong calling every adult woman Missus Surname.)

If a town is occupied by the friendly force, one might anticipate that the citizens are somewhat pleased. If by the enemy force, they might engage in some subtle or not-so-subtle civil disobedience (refusing service in shops, women snubbing soldiers, display of patriotic emblems, etc.)

Keep in mind that not everyone followed "period ettiquette" in the period! Books are written to encourage those who *aren't* used to being particularly couth, enabling them to "ape their betters" and move into more genteel segments of society. But the very fact that someone writes about not eating peas with the knife, or not using the table cloth for a hanky, or not spitting in the street, indicates that there *were* folks who did just those uncouth things.

Setting out appropriate rules of contact between citizens and soldiers requires the participation of both segments: the citizens will need education on how to approach the military camps, what is permissable within them, what will earn them an escort back to the non-military areas, etc. If soldiers are out of the garrison area, they'd better have papers allowing such a thing, and be ready to present them to any officer that asks, or they're absent without leave. Adding simple aspects of military discipline and practices in such matters would be a benefit to any event.

MStuart
07-31-2006, 07:18 AM
This is all good stuff as far as I'm concerned. In order to keep it going just a little longer, if the ladies would indulge me, I'd like to ask what improvements would you like to see as far as period etiquette in a mainstream garrison camp. What are some of the "boogers" that you constantly see that could be improved upon?

Mark

Ephraim_Zook
07-31-2006, 07:39 AM
Hmmm...

Men smoking in the presence of ladies.
Ladies smoking, period.
Men conducting crude conversations among themselves in the presence of ladies.

At the very bottom of the event scale:
Women (obviously, NOT ladies) wandering around in their nightclothes.
Women appearing in their (period) undergarments.

ElizabethClark
07-31-2006, 08:48 AM
Things I'd watch for (and which could be easily changed if they're happening this way):

* Families hanging out in or sleeping in military camps. It doesn't work historically very well, due to the rampant disease that plagued many stationare military camps (no sane mother considers that a healthy napping environment for her baby, when cleaner "rooms" can be had in "town.)

* Women or children unescorted in the military camp (children running about on their own, too): huge safety hazard all around!

* Women wearing abnormally formal or revealing clothing into a military camp, such as ballgowns in the afternoon, or undergarments only. There are military rules governing prostitutes, and those can be found in the military records of the time, and replicated.

* Women and children "babysitting" military camps while planned skirmishes happen. A better solution is to post guards at the entrances (yes, these guys miss the skirmish), and bar entry to any spectators or reenactors during skirmish times. A simple, "Camp is closed to visitors until Xpm. Please visit then," will inform potential visitors when they can return to chat with military impressionists.

* Men in military uniform "hanging out" in citizen areas without papers--it would not be typical, from what I understand at this point, for a military man of low rank to "get the night off to see the wife and kids", and military men hanging out in the citizen areas makes it hard for the citizens to have an accurate-looking area. Both parties need to respect the integrity of the other's living spaces. Should men wish to be in the non-military areas, and the event is not requiring papers to do so, those men should be considerate enough to bring along a set of citizen's clothing, and change into them.

I think it just boils down to finding out how military camp security was handled, and replicating it at the event; finding out how the military and the citizens interacted in that sort of situation, and setting up scenarios to replicate it; providing non-military settings for families to dwell, and requiring the military men be in citizen clothing to hang out there, as well!

Beyond that, there's an article added to the Liz's Stumps section of Great Auntie Maude's Curious Compendium of Nineteenth Century Knowledge called "Value Added Events"--a whole host of ideas for potential historical and educational variations on some "traditional" citizen's event activities. Website is linked below my signature.

bizzilizzit
07-31-2006, 09:53 AM
First, let us remember we are speaking about Mainstream events, which are family friendly. They encourage the military to bring their family and some units invite them to camp in the military camp. Mainstream events see this crazy thing we do as a hobby, not an obligation. And because of their "lax" rules, they get big numbers at events. If this type of event isn't for you, don't attend or try to change how it's culture functions. Progressives and Campaigners wouldn't tolerate a Mainstreamer's intrusion on one of their events. Let's stay on our own side of the fence, unless we can cross over with respect for the other's event requirements.

As far as women not acting as "babysitters" in camp, posting "visiting" times, or a guard, I say these ideas do not keep the thieves out of one's tent. The guys have come to burn powder and many have driven several hours for that privilege. Unless there is something physically wrong with them and they cannot participate, they are going into battle. A sign stating visiting hours would be a put off to many spectators and an invitation to a thief.

At most mainstream events where I've camped with the military, I cook breakfast and I'm gone for the day (until it's time to prepare dinner). However, some of the other ladies have remained behind and stopped Souvenir Hunters from helping themselves to whatever they can lay their hands on. I cooked for over 70 men at the 135th Antietam event. One morning, after getting up at 3 am, to put up coffee and a light breakfast and then cooking a full breakfast after the sunrise battle, I opted to stay in camp to catch my breath while the guys marched out to line up for the afternoon battle. Good thing I did. Two people dressed in military uniform as Provosts started going through the tents on the main company street. They didn't see me sitting under the cook fly. When one of them emerged from a tent with a rifle cradled in his arm, I stormed down the street and took it from him. They claimed they were looking for a stolen musket (this was a rifle). I told them to come back after the battle and speak to the men themselves. They left. I found out later than they had gone through all the Union camps, with the same story, and walked off with several weapons. I wasn't exactly babysitting, but an overheated and overtired woman waving a fish knife can be a pretty good watchdog against thieves.

Other boogers in a mainstream camp that are improper behavior?

Men should keep their shirts on. I've seen WAY too many half naked soldiers during events. I'm surprised I haven't been struck blind or insane.

Female soldiers. There are too many of them only because I can pick them out as such. Their units needs to require the females to look less female. They also need to learn proper etiquette for a man.

Offering to hold my bundles while I use the port-o-john is a nice gesture.

Brush your teeth behind your tent, not over the fire pit. Ditto for relieving yourself. The moon creates a lovely silhouette on my tent wall…

Elizabeth Topping

MStuart
07-31-2006, 10:05 AM
Men should keep their shirts on. I've seen WAY too many half naked soldiers during events. I'm surprised I haven't been struck blind or insane.

Elizabeth Topping

Blast it, woman!!!!! This is my work computer I've ruined now!!!! :-)

Seriously, great post. While Elizabeth's post is surely good, a good deal of her suggestions would be frowned upon, at least in large, eastern mainstream events. (But that is surely another topic)

Many of us "soldiers" tend to take the women for granted in camp, and we surely shouldn't. They are as much a part of our hobby as we are and should treat them as such. They deserve respect and ettiquette as civilians as much as the soldier officers do.

Mark

bizzilizzit
07-31-2006, 10:22 AM
Many of us "soldiers" tend to take the women for granted in camp, and we surely shouldn't. They are as much a part of our hobby as we are and should treat them as such. They deserve respect and ettiquette as civilians as much as the soldier officers do.

Thank you for the acknowledgment, Mark. I'm blushing at your veneration. Well, at least a little…

Elizabeth Topping

unionmed
07-31-2006, 05:43 PM
Very interesting posts indeed. Where have the manners gone through the decades?
I have camped in military twice (due to lack of space) and found it to be uncomfortable on both sides. Our unit does real first aid and at really hot events I tell "that soldier" to take his shirt off! Nurses were not considered to be "ladies" from what I have been told. If I am in a military camp it is a walk through to check on the well being of the men with the commanding officers permission and under escort.
I been known to scare some of the men when I do dress up in a hoop!

Union Med

bizzilizzit
07-31-2006, 07:45 PM
I concur, Union Med. If a man were about to pass out from the heat, I'd tell him to take his shirt off as well. Matter of fact, I'd say the same to a lady - dress, corset, hoop and petticoats - off! I was referring to the casual male nakedness I've seen so frequently, not to mention sponge baths around the campfire in nothing but drawers.
As for nurses not being ladies, that is mostly myth. Well-mannered society, esp. early in the war, felt that no proper lady would speak with, nor less touch, bath, feed, and clothe a complete male stranger. Little did "polite" society realize how strong patriotism was in the female bosom! Ladies in all ranks of society pushed their way into the hospitals and on to the battlefield, many invoked rude manners to make their way through what had previously been man’s work. Some “bad” women pretended to be nurses, to obtain access to the men. However, with such nasty work and horrific sights and sounds before them, they quickly fell back into the night. A few of those tainted souls, I’m sure, were touched by what they observed in hospital, dropped their original purpose for being present, and threw themselves into the same hard and dirty work those many virtuous ladies were doing.
Elizabeth Topping

MStuart
07-31-2006, 08:37 PM
Which brings me to my personal pet peeve.....hoops in camp. Ladies, correct me if I'm wrong, please. It's my personal opinion that at most mainstream events where the womenfolk camp with the men, we shouldn't see a hoop. Reason being that the woman in camp impression should (and I emphasize should) be that of a laundress, mess cook, or nurse. A "working woman" for lack of a better phrase. One that is concerned with manners and should be treated with due respect, but one who's duties would not be conducive, or even comfortable, with a hoop. A hoop, as I understand it, is a semi-formal to formal accouterment when the lady is attempting to look and be her best. It certainly wouldn't be appropriate for the mess cook, laundress, or nurse to be performing her duties that way, would it?

On the other hand, wearing one's hoops to visit friends in another camp (with an escort) or to go sutlering or dancing, is an appropriate opportunity for hoops. I think.

It may be just me, but I notice an awful lot of ladies in camp, some for a good part of the day, in hoops.

Mark

bizzilizzit
07-31-2006, 09:08 PM
Some women worked in SMALL hoops (not those oversized embarrassments usually seen in Mainstream camps) while others preferred one or two petticoats. Either is appropriate for a camp laundress, cook, seamstress, etc. Not wearing, at the very least, one petticoat is quite improper, as one’s legs can be seen through the dress. I know it gets hot, ladies, but if we ask the men to keep their clothes on for propriety’s sake, we are obliged to do the same.
I must say I blame the commanding officer of any unit who allows women tenting in a military camp to wear hoops the size of Lake Erie. They are either uninformed or lack the chestnuts to say something to them. Some of the ladies are unaware that it is improper as well. Also, it is a huge safety issue to be anywhere near a campfire in a hoop. I’ve heard several horror stories about ladies catching fire – those hoops, esp. the big ones, have a lot of oxygen under them which feeds the fire. Ever try to roll someone wearing one of those things? It’s next to impossible to smother the flames.
Elizabeth Topping

ElizabethClark
08-01-2006, 09:13 AM
Here's my basic thought on it:

When women are in working situations around fire, they should not be wearing hoops. Period. Not even small ones. Any sort of hoop at all decreases fire safety by a tremendous degree. Women of the era engaged in one of the only routine "camping" situation (Westward Migration) generally abandoned use of a hoop early on the trek (such as, as soon as they left enough civilization that meals had to be prepared in camp, rather than purchased at inns and private homes), as it presented a huge fire hazard. When in hoops, "stop drop and roll" doesn't work.

Nurses were instructed to skip the hoops for hospital settings (no room between cots); laundresses generally have the sense to not increase the job dangers by adding a flame-catcher and distended skirts to the mix.

If women insist on being present in a camp, the men ought to insist they do not increase the fire danger levels.

Now, if there are no fires, that's a different thing: you'll see plenty of engravings and photographs of factory workers (even munitions factories!) wearing small hoops and cages.

When I first got into the hobby, the groups I played with were absolutely "family friendly" and "mainstream." A wide smorgasboard of impressions was presented at every event, whether or not they were historically appropriate for that particular event scenario. "Family friendly" should imply some sort of "friendly to families"--and the dangers of a military camp just aren't friendly to children or women.

My mainstream hobby group, while not quite ready to make the jump to different impressions for different event scenarios, definitely considered it their "obligation" to present the history of the Relief Society as they understood it. While their particular relief society would not have been present at every battle scenario, it was a "family friendly" way to include wives, children, and non-attached women with a larger military structure.... and we were given non-military camp areas to live in during every single mainstream event, as it was safer and "friendlier" for all. The close confines of a camp set up in military fashion is not safe or friendly for children. Having experienced a wide variety of camp setups, with a wide range of children of all ages and abilities, I would not consider a group that provides unsafe settings for their families to be "family friendly."

One other terminology issue: people who shop at events go shopping. They may be visiting merchants, or visiting stores, or visiting shops... but they aren't, in general, visiting "sutlers," unless they're military men visiting a military-contract citizen merchant who carries goods and supplies condoned by the military, at prices often set by the military, and catering to the military needs with "un-issued" items. Merchants who carry bonnets, women's patterns, dresses, etc, are vendors, shopkeepers, drygoods merchants, etc... not sutlers.

As I've said in other threads: I can enjoy myself in about any event setting, from community smorgasboard events to full immersion events. Where the setting is *not* truly family friendly (as in, safe for family participation), I don't mind speaking up and encouraging alterations to the Same Old, Same Old, to increase safety for the participants.

If thefts are an issue (and they absolutely are), then to me it seems reasonable to have a rotating duty schedule of adult men (the owners of the rifles, etc) who elect to skip the 30 minute skirmish once in each event (leaving at least 3 other skirmishes to attend and shoot), to stand duty at the entrances to camp and block anyone not affiliated with the group from entering, question anyone milling about, visit with spectators at the camp entrance if they're so inclined, and keep an eye out on the tents. If one woman sitting beneath a laundry fly can make a difference, think how much more difference can be made with three adult men standing gaurd at two entrances, not allowing foreign guys in uniform to enter the camp, in the first place.

To clarify: I'm not condemning smorgasboard events in any way, not saying groups should not be "family friendly." As a mother, with a family, "friendly" means safe for my kids. I've seen that accomplished at everything from smorgasboard events to immersion events, with great success. It may, however, mean occasional changes in the way things are done, with a view to increasing safety for all.

unionmed
08-01-2006, 05:29 PM
Our unit has a "no hoop" rule due to the nature of what we do in addition to the fire danger. I wear a corded petticoat which works well.
I love the overly large diameter hoop that is way too short and looks like a bell swinging in the breeze waiting to ring!

Union Med

Bummer
08-25-2006, 12:12 PM
This is a most interesting thread as I too enjoy the interaction with the civilians at events--and have a selection of civilian stuff I wear sometimes myself.
However, I have a question that is borderline here--and I am apparently guilty here.
When at mainstream events with all sorts of folks, period and non period, milling around, at things like Gettysburg Rememberence Day with so many on the streets, I have long learned to be able to 'tune out' the modern folks and only see the antique.
My question is that in a mixed crowd like that I often nod or otherwise greet/acknowlege those reenactors (male or female) who have very nice impressions as sort of a way to compliment them, and I think as a rule those people understand what I am doing--acknowleging their 'look'. However, it has been said that one does not 'greet' a strange lady on the street--I have often tipped my hat. I do this for the aforementioned reason--which may be more in a slightly modern context than strictly period.
How does one compliment or acknowlege another reenactors fine looking impression as we merely pass by in this case?

Spence Waldron~

Incidently my grandfather (born in 1876) used to always tip his hat to ladies on the street, I distinctly remember this as a kid. It was thought old fashioned, but he actually did tip his hat. I wonder what the women thought of that?

ElizabethClark
08-25-2006, 12:48 PM
Spence, though it might not be "the done thing" 100% in period ettiquette to nod/smile at those with whom you have no social relationship, it's also not something I'd kick up a fuss about as a nod/smile-ee. :) In doing so, you've not done anything to mar their experience, or accost them in the street--they still have the option of "not seeing you" (just as they would if you did so in the past), and I very much doubt you'd take "not seeing you" as a personal affront.

My great grandad did tip his hat, right up to his death in the late 1970s, at the age of nearly 100. As a girl, I loved it. :)

Bummer
08-25-2006, 02:38 PM
Why thank you. It is a custom I have always followed in appreciation for those who go that extra length to look great. No, I never expect more than perhaps a return nod or smile, or even that much, nor do I ever stop should I receive one. It is just my way of acknowledging a person (male or female) as being 'one of us', and showing appreciation by 'including them' in my 'world' while I am ignoring the 21st century. I guess my question is whether the touching of the hat is offensive or would it be recognised for what it is--whether it is acknowledged or not matters not to me, but offending a lady does.

And as far as the 'fairer sex' is concerned, I do believe that by in large the mainstream of the 19th century men (mostly soldiery) do not appreciate or include them nearly as much as they deserve to be. I merely try to do my tiny bit to rectify that in a small way--to show that at least one more person recognizes--and appreciates--their efforts.
I would never mean any offense or impropriety.

Spence Waldron~

hanktrent
08-25-2006, 03:50 PM
Here are some random thoughts.

There's an underlying base of 21st century behavior at any event, so I don't think anyone is going to be genuinely offended (as their 21st century self), unless they'd be offended in a similar modern circumstance, which would be rare. For example, say you're driving a classic convertible and you wave when you pass another person who's also driving a classic convertible. Or any other similar acknowledgement of "hey, we both share the same interest." That's pretty much expected and welcomed in all hobbies.

Since this is at mainstream events, there's not much expectation that you should interact with others based on 19th century viewpoints. In other words, a modern reenactor would classify a top-notch impression of a prostitute equally with a top-notch impression of a minister's wife, because they're both, well, top-notch, and they'd both get a greeting.

In the 19th century, though, a person would most likely treat them differently. A man who tipped his hat and smiled at a woman he guessed was a prostitute, would be conveying something in the 1860s, and he'd be conveying something even more if he immediately tipped his hat and smiled the same way at the minister's wife. In that case, you might get some 19th century offense, though I doubt you'd get 21st century offense.

There are events set up for that kind of subtlety, but I don't think you'll find much of it at mainstream events, where it is about making that connection, "Hey, you like classic convertibles too!"

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

StLouislady
08-27-2006, 06:16 PM
Oh, dear. Now I don't know that I'd phrase it in, oh, hm, quite that way ... in other words, a gentleman who smiles at a lady is implying that she is a soiled dove? I'd like to make a suggestion here -- shall we put the civil back in civilian, and try to use gentler, and, perhaps, oh, let's call them more appropriate metaphors? We wouldn't want it to be said that the good folks who yearn for authenticity can't be kind, would we?

Being pleasant, polite, friendly, and welcoming is always correct, at least as far as I understand social ... eptitude, for lack of a better word.

In my readings on 19th century society I've often come across situations where folks were welcomed and treated kindly by strangers of either gender; where ladies could ask for assistance of gentlemen they did not know personally, and be perfectly assured that no one would think ill of them; where it was considered a Christian duty to reach a helping hand where it was necessary, regardless of introductions. Tipping a hat and offering a smile at a mainstream reenactment ought never to be construed as anything other than a lovely, warm gesture. Such a gentleman would live high in my estimation.

hanktrent
08-27-2006, 07:32 PM
Oh, dear. Now I don't know that I'd phrase it in, oh, hm, quite that way ... in other words, a gentleman who smiles at a lady is implying that she is a soiled dove?

Are you referring to my post above? If so, that's certainly not what I meant. I was giving an example of a specific hypothetical situation, and in that situation, I think what I said holds true. However, I never said it applied to all gentlemen smiling at all women everywhere, nor to mainstream reenactments.

The kind of man who would smile and tip his hat on the street to a woman he believed to be a prostitute is, first of all, not the average 19th century gentleman. If, within sight of that action, he were to do the same thing to a strange woman on the arm of a minister, yes, I think that would make the minister's wife uncomfortable. Honestly, I think it would make a woman uncomfortable even in the non-reenacting 21st century. I know that if we're out on the street in a city in the evening, my wife doesn't like stares or worse yet greetings or catcalls from "those kind of guys," and conversely, it would never occur to me in the 21st century to make eye contact and greet a strange woman on the street who looked like a prostitute, because that would imply something about me that isn't true.

But all that has nothing to do with normal daily social interaction and certainly nothing to do with mainstream reenactor interaction.


We wouldn't want it to be said that the good folks who yearn for authenticity can't be kind, would we?

Well, this gets down to whether we're behaving like 19th century people, or like 21st century people.

Kindness usually means to treat people how they would like to be treated. At mainstream events, it's my understanding that everyone sees it as a festival, an extended family gathering, where everyone is supposed to interact happily and casually, except perhaps for brief scenarios, and the blue and the gray might come together for the big potluck supper or the ball or shop together at the sutlers. So yes, in those situations, it would be unkind to behave any other way.

But does that mean that those who yearn for authenticity are unkind if they set out pickets all night to keep half the reenactors away, search or steal from civilians who stray too close to hostile military lines, or whatever? No, they are in fact "being kind" because they're treating the other reenactors how they want to be treated.

Different mindset, different hobbies, different expectations.


where ladies could ask for assistance of gentlemen they did not know personally, and be perfectly assured that no one would think ill of them; where it was considered a Christian duty to reach a helping hand where it was necessary, regardless of introductions.

Agreed. It's the whole concept of opening doors, giving seats, etc. A woman travelling alone could indeed expect to be protected and assisted by strangers.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

MissMaggie
08-27-2006, 09:20 PM
I think we also need to keep in mind that prostitues of the 1860's did not dress any differently from the average women of the 1860's. The man might not even know that she was a women of easy virtue as he tipped his hat to her (unless he happens to be a client). A women wearing a respectable day dress with the full compliment of acceptable and fashionable accessories can only be taken for a lady. While women wearing out of fashion or obviously working clothing are not ladies, but probably still women with a respectable if somewhat low status in life. To sum it up a gentleman would tip his hat to someone he percieved as an equal in society and not tip his hat to someone who appeared to be lower than him in society.

hanktrent
08-27-2006, 10:18 PM
I think we also need to keep in mind that prostitues of the 1860's did not dress any differently from the average women of the 1860's.

Good point, and yet another example of the subtlety of social clues. I recall an event where period behavior was expected, and a woman I knew in real life was portraying a stranger to me. She was dressed like a normal poor country woman. Though she seemed nervous when we met, she had an odd way of looking me directly in the face and answering my questions in a friendly but circumspect way. She was looking for work, and when I asked what she could do, she said she could clean houses, cook, or "just about anything."

It was such a combination of openness, compliancy, friendliness and wariness, in close proximity to an army camp, with apparently no fixed home, that I finally decided she was not a normal farm wife, and was perhaps a prostitute or a very easy woman. Turned out she was portraying someone who was mentally ill. Her behavior was just enough "off" from the norm that I knew something was up, though I couldn't guess what. It was a superbly subtle portrayal.

But in another reenacting context, where period behavior wasn't assumed, she might have just seemed like a nervous, shy reenactor trying to make new friends in the hobby.

By the way, I was just looking at The Ladies' Book of Etiquette by Florence Hartley, 1860, which we have in reprint, and in the chapter on "Conduct in the Street," the author is quite strict in her rules--moreso, I expect, than most people actually followed in the period. Still, it's interesting. A few examples:


A lady's conduct is never so entirely at the mercy of critics, because never so public, as when she is in the street... every unlady-like action will be marked; and in no position will a dignified, lady-like deportment be more certain to command respect...

If you are ever caught in a shower, and meet a gentleman friend who offers an umbrella, accept it, if he will accompany you to your destination... If a stranger offers you the same services, decline it positively, but courteously, at the same time thanking him...

Loud talknig and laughing in the street are excessively vulgar. Not only this, but they expose a lady to the most severe misconstruction. Let your conduct be modest and quiet...

Be careful not to be alone in the streets after night fall. It exposes you to insult. If you are obliged to go out, have a servant, or another lady, if you cannot procure the escort of a gentleman, which is, of course, the best.
Walk slowly, do not turn your head to the right or left, unless you wish to walk that way, and avoid any gesture or word that will attract attention.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

StLouislady
08-28-2006, 08:02 AM
Since I don't need the last word and don't have the time to make sure I achieve it (because I have to get back to work in about five minutes) I will leave the privilege to you as always. Please consider this an invitation.

I just want to say a few things about all this. First, the fact that someone objected to the use of the word "prostitute" in connection with mainstream lady reenactors should be evidence enough that someone found your post offensive.

Second, the original poster made it clear that the subject under discussion was manners at a mainstream reenactment. As such I thought the original question was well-taken and important, and deserved a considerate, polite reply. Reaching for the most egregious metaphor was not the way to achieve that. I don't know that any modern gentleman, regardless of his circumstances (reenactment or elsewhere) would enjoy being told that he was treating his lady friends and acquaintances as ... I don't want to keep repeating the offensive word. I don't think your reply was an effort to educate and enlighten; I see it as another way of making life hard for folks who don't reenact the way you do.

I certainly see the validity of your ideas and conduct at your own events; in fact, as you know I attended one and thought it was brilliantly planned and executed. It was one of the most interesting and authentic reenactments I've ever attended. (Just so you know that I'm not questioning your methods.) I'm only saying that it isn't fair or kind to cast such opprobrium on folks who don't reenact the way you do. You yourself are an ambassador for allowing folks to have their own style and do things as they think right. There are better, more helpful, and kinder ways of making your point, that's all I'm saying.

And that's my last point; now back to work for me.

hanktrent
08-28-2006, 08:57 AM
Since I don't need the last word and don't have the time to make sure I achieve it (because I have to get back to work in about five minutes) I will leave the privilege to you as always.

Silvana, I know you don't really like me for some reason, and that colors how you read my posts and interpret my behavior.

However, I see it differently. Just when we get a really in-depth conversation going on a good topic, you find some reason to interpret what I say in the most negative way possible, take offense, and withdraw in a huff. I wish our dialogs could continue, because I always find them interesting, but oh well.

If you have the chance, I hope you'll post again.


First, the fact that someone objected to the use of the word "prostitute" in connection with mainstream lady reenactors should be evidence enough that someone found your post offensive.

Who is the someone? Do you mean yourself? I'm not aware that anyone else has taken offense. If they have, I wish they'd post here and tell me about it.

As everyone can see from my post, I never said anything about prostitutes in connection with mainstream reenactors. In fact, I only used that example in connection with two things: the real 19th century, and events where subtle impressions were expected.

I also don't think that any man who smiles at a woman in the real 1860s, or in the 21st century, is treating her as a prostitute either. Just the opposite. I encouraged those who wanted to greet others, and suggested it would be welcome and no offense meant or taken. As I said, "For example, say you're driving a classic convertible and you wave when you pass another person who's also driving a classic convertible. Or any other similar acknowledgement of 'hey, we both share the same interest.' That's pretty much expected and welcomed in all hobbies."


As such I thought the original question was well-taken and important, and deserved a considerate, polite reply.

I agree, which is what I thought we'd been doing.


There are better, more helpful, and kinder ways of making your point, that's all I'm saying.

There are better, more helpful, and kinder ways of continuing an interesting conversation than assuming the worst of others. Oh well.

I still think it's an interesting topic, because I've always found etiquette at mainstream events to be a complex issue, since the social norms require behavior that's neither too period nor too modern, with numerous chances for offense or misinterpretation for those who cross the boundaries either way.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

MissMaggie
08-28-2006, 11:21 AM
"First, the fact that someone objected to the use of the word "prostitute" in connection with mainstream lady reenactors should be evidence enough that someone found your post offensive."

Umm....I wasn't taking offense at the word prostitute because I thought that Mr, Trent was saying that mainstream reenactors are portraying postitues or were prostitutes. I think Mr. Trent was simply picking two extream cases from real 19th century life and using those to make his point.
I was simply pointing out that your average 19th century guy would never be able to tell the difference between the two if they were both walking down the street so he would not treat them any differently.
Because if you really wanted to get into it....most women who portray postititues at mainstream events walk around in their underwear or do something else to draw attention to themselves (at one event there was a sign outside the tent saying they offered horizontal refreshment).

Linda Trent
08-28-2006, 12:11 PM
And here's my particular ignorance........when greeting a lady and "tipping" the hat, is the hat just touched, or should it be completely lifted from the head, and, how far?

From Martine's Handbook & Vulgarisms in Conversation, 1866. Reprinted by R.L. Shep as Civil War Etiquette, 1988.


Never nod to a lady in the street, neither be satisfied with touching your hat, but take it off-- it is a courtesy her sex demands.

From The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness." by Florence Hartley. Boston, 1860. Reprinted by Amazon Vinegar and Pickling Works Drygoods, Ltd., 1993.


Remember that in greeting your gentlemen friends it is your duty to speak first, therefore do not cut them by waiting to be recognized...
You are not expected to recognize any friend on the opposite side of the street. Even if you see them, do not bow.

Another original question:


How should they address the lady? For instance, if it was my wife, would it be appropriate to address her as "Mrs. Stuart" (formal) or the informal "Miss Wanda"? Would it be any different if she was a "laundress" who was in the camp often, or, just an infrequent visitor? How should the other soldiers of our "mess" address her?

A lot of this depends upon how formal the situation is, how close of a friend you're addressing, your rank and status in the camp, who else is within hearing, etc. I would assume that 95% of the time in a camp atmosphere it would be "Mrs. Stuart."

And finally:


Tipping a hat and offering a smile at a mainstream reenactment ought never to be construed as anything other than a lovely, warm gesture.

That's *exactly* what Hank was saying. At mainstream events that's what's expected regardless whether a person is dressed as a prostitute or as the minister's wife, or anything in between. The greeting at a mainstream event is merely a "I like your impression" or a "Hi how ya doin'" kind of greeting regardless one's portrayal. No one assumes that the person tipping the hat is being forward.

Mainstream events no matter what you're portraying you can assume that the treatment that you get from your fellow reenactors is pretty much all 21st century "warmth and love."

Anyway... I agree that it's been an interesting discussion.

Linda.

hanktrent
08-28-2006, 12:44 PM
"Never nod to a lady in the street, neither be satisfied with touching your hat, but take it off-- it is a courtesy her sex demands."

Here's a trivia fact I hadn't noticed before. While putting that book back on the shelf for Linda, I was skimming that chapter, and the author apparently felt it was okay for men to just touch their hats when greeting other men, just not ladies.


While walking the street no one should be so absent-minded as to neglect to recognize his [male] friends. If you do not stop, you should always bow, touch your hat, or bid your friend good day.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Bummer
08-28-2006, 02:47 PM
I'm not sure what St Louis lady's problem was--sounds like a long convoluted tale is behind it--not my business. But what IS my business, because I brought it up, was nicely answered by Hank--and I thank you. You said it just right with your analogy of the two classic car buffs--that exactly what I meant; tipping my hat is my way of saying 'Hey, nice impression' just as the classic car drivers are saying, 'Hey nice restoration.' And whether it is a Peirce Arrow town car or a Willy's army jeep, the compliment is the same--just as whether it is the prostitute or the preacher's wife and any and all between. There was nothing at all wrong in that statement--and I thank you for it as it makes what I was trying to say very clearly stated.

So. It seems that by today's standards--in a mainstream 'fest' such as on the street during Gettyburg Rememberence Day, or at the merchant's villiage (sutlers) such a gesture would be taken as it's meant: one reenactor's compliment to another--just as I salute authentic looking officers, thereby including myself in their time trip as a compliment to their efforts at period impression--noticing them, man or woman, as what they are trying to be--whoever they are.

Of course at a hardcore event I am altogether different as the event dictates--I am often a baad yankee who might even rough a southron lady up and steal her household belongings--or at least paw through them (Averysboro '99); certainly not be on my best behavior anyway (keep the matches away!).
But that is beyond the scope of this thread.

Spence Waldron~

bizzilizzit
08-28-2006, 02:57 PM
Because if you really wanted to get into it....most women who portray postititues at mainstream events walk around in their underwear or do something else to draw attention to themselves (at one event there was a sign outside the tent saying they offered horizontal refreshment).

Not ALL reenactors who choose to portray this very difficult impression do it incorrectly. As with any impression, research and documentation make a good living historian. There are many 19th century laws regarding women wearing their underwear or any improper clothing in public areas and it is up to the Provost to enforce them - or some citizen to bring it to the Provost's or Sheriff's attention. When done properly, portraying a prostitute can be educational for the public and fun for reenactors. It can bring an element of 1860's life to the forefront that not many women are either willing to take on or take the time to research it and treat it with respect as with any other impression.
I'd like to shake the hand of the woman Hank described.
From a lowly working class woman trying to make ends meet...
Elizabeth Topping

MStuart
08-28-2006, 03:17 PM
Who is the someone? Do you mean yourself? I'm not aware that anyone else has taken offense. If they have, I wish they'd post here and tell me about it.

I've read these last few posts about 4 times trying to take offense, and just can't do it. I don't know Hank from a hill of beans outside of this forum, but I do know he's one of the top five "gentlemen" here.

Mark

Rob Weaver
09-02-2006, 08:15 PM
OK - I'm not interested in reading any more stuff about prostitutes so if I may, can I subtly change the subject? The army of the 1860s was understood to be a man's world. A woman entering into that setting was understood to be a visitor to a foreign and not altogether appropriate place. A mother might warn her daughter that soldiers were "wild."
An observation: I know of a famous photo of a table of guys writing home and doing their sewing repairs. Hatless, coatless, vestless, sleeves rolled above their elbows. Clearly they are in the contented company of other males. If a lady should happen onto this scene, I can see a flurry of standing up and trying to look decent, while apologizing profusely. But I can't really see them diving for their hats and coats. In fact, her presence might just break up the revival because they all know they're not presentable.
I don't think it's fair to expect male reenactors to be prepared to entertain women visitors at all times, even in a mainstream event. (I'm not talking here about crudities that would still be considered rude even in exclusively male company.) BTW- I also consider the sutlers/merchants/town area of your average mainstream event to be a "neutral area." Though I myself rarely ever go to town without hat and coat, I not going to enforce period manner on someone else there. Reason? Simple. It's not really a period setting. You're going to be handling modern currency; they're going to give you things wrapped in modern plastic bags and boxes; yes, you might even be going there to eat a modern hot dog or drink a modern pop. I feel that bringing period manners there is confusing, and a bit too much of a joke. Like trying to pay for an item with reproduction cash. Outside camp, to me, modern manners apply.