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Thread: Catholic Sister at Gettysburg

  1. #11
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    Thank you CarolAnn---I was sure of the lady's first name, but the last name required more than my brain could muster. (We got the oxen off the GAC site late afternoon yesterday, and relocated to Fort Ryan as a safe haven while awaiting a transmission). Katie Carroll does a highly commendable job in the mpression.

    The French headpiece worn by this order was specifically noted in period accounts. They were the first 'boots on the ground' in the aftermath. I drove over to their place on July 2, and it was well worth the trip. What courage it took for them to move towards the carnage
    Mrs. Lawson
    Weaver, Spinster, Strong Fast Dyes
    Knitted Goods and yarns available thlawson@bellsouth.net



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  2. #12
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    Could you reference the citations on wearing the wimple in the field please. I have an interest in monastic practices of the period. Thanks

  3. #13
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    Christopher -

    I suggest you begin by contacting the Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg, MD; their provincial archives are located there. They offer guided talks on the order and their efforts immediately after the battle of Gettysburg. There is also a Facebook page for the provincial archives where they occasionally post copies of documents in their collection. If you're ever in Gettysburg, you may wish to visit St. Francis Xavier Church to see their stained glass window of the sisters tending the wounded at Gettysburg. Good luck with your research.

    Regards,
    Carolann
    Carolann Schmitt
    cschmitt@genteelarts.com
    www.genteelarts.com
    Ladies & Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference, March 6-9, 2014

  4. #14
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    Carolann, I have spent more weekends than I can count in Gettysburg and toured the Emmisburg school and site on numerous occassions. Just asking if anyone would be kind enough to share documentation to avoid another long drive with the cost of gas as it is. Seems from the conversation a readily available item and it would be very much appreciated. I have never seen a lack of enthusiasm among members here for espousing their knowledge.
    Thanks for your help.
    PS, I don't consider paintings and certainly not a stained glass religious image to be documentation. Way too much room for artistic license
    Last edited by doughboy; 07-10-2013 at 06:42 AM.

  5. #15
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    Chris,

    Having studied such, you are then well familiar with the dearth of photo documentation of daily life in religious orders--vows of poverty, vanity as sin, and such.

    The use of contemporaneous genre paintings is a common practice in researching the material culture of those lives not commonly photo documented. My area of interest includes the lower classes-contemporaneous paintings and etchings give a far different clothing view than is reflected in fashion magazines of the period or images of merchant class women.

    The equally startling, though not as voluminous, headpieces of one Kentucky order were commented upon in soldiers accounts as well as in contemporary drawings. It took a good bit of work to portray them(a decade ago) as the starched cloth looked more like bunny ears than anything else. And that is how we portrayed them.

    As your standards of research differ, I suggest you write the order. A stamp and a donation is cheaper than a tank of fuel.
    Mrs. Lawson
    Weaver, Spinster, Strong Fast Dyes
    Knitted Goods and yarns available thlawson@bellsouth.net



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  6. #16
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    Mrs Lawson, not sure I have different standards. I have long been of the opinion that paintings et al while offering a good point of departure for a discussion, do not meet the standard of "documentation" due to such issues as artistic license etc. And yes I am sure there is little photographic evidence, but it sounds as though Katie Carroll has come up with a good deal of other information. While I don't mind reinventing the research wheel on this issue, I am sure Ms Carroll could easily answer my question. I have no reason to doubt her impression but am interested in the wearing of the wimple. Carolann explicitly states that they "never" altered the headpiece. The word "never" aside, I can accept that this is true, but many orders would resort to wearing only the veil during strenuous labor along with older, usually well worn and patched habits. (I spent over 2 years in a contemplative monastery and some of that time was spent studying pre Vatican II religious communities and practices). The wimple is a rather ungainly, impractical piece of headwear especially when working in such close quarters as a field hospital with people flying around trying to save lives and limbs. Not an unreasonable question and again probably not difficult to answer.

    (Not sure when asking for documentation became such a sin. Used to be when someone presented a new or unusual impression or piece of information, it was incumbent on them to provide documentation if asked. I guess things have changed in the last few days and the questioner is now required to provide the documentation? Sorry I guess I just can't keep up. LOL)
    Last edited by doughboy; 07-10-2013 at 02:19 PM.

  7. #17
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    Chris –

    I just saw the updates to this thread. I think I’ve been misquoted. I did not say they “never” altered the headpiece; I said “they were not altered when physical labor was required”.

    My source for that statement was a member of the order; the occasion was preparation for a Civil War event in Emmitsburg many years ago. I did not personally see the documentation the sister had for her statement. If I had, I’d be happy to share it with you.

    Religious dress, particularly in the mid-19th century, is a topic that interests me, but it’s not one I have studied in-depth. The general reading I’ve done to date supports the statement that I heard. I also know that what happened at a particular time and place does not necessarily apply everywhere. More research is needed! I’ll be happy to revise my statement if documentation or additional research shows it is incorrect.

    Contacting the order directly would be the most direct route to the information. I can also provide contact information for Katie Carroll if you’d like to discuss the topic with her.

    On a side note: Costume and art historians generally consider genre paintings to be one category in which artistic license is the least likely to occur. They, like any other source, do need to be viewed with a critical eye and evaluated accordingly. I mentioned the stained glass window as a point of interest, not as a primary source. Many visitors to Gettysburg do not know about it and have not seen it. I don’t know you personally and was unaware of your familiarity with the area.

    I would be interested in what you discover. Unfortunately this topic will have to remain on my “to research” list for the time-being as I work on other on-going projects.

    Regards,
    Carolann
    Carolann Schmitt
    cschmitt@genteelarts.com
    www.genteelarts.com
    Ladies & Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference, March 6-9, 2014

  8. #18
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    My apologies Carolann. I did misquote you. There is a book on this specific subject, Battlefield Angels, that would certainly be worth a read.

  9. #19
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    This appears to be a modern photo. Wonder where it is from?:

    http://www.trbimg.com/img-5198050e/t...18/600/600x294

    and this painting. Interesting at least:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-KbBNuG_L7a.../war+nurse.jpg

  10. #20
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    All of the searches I made for the photo linked back to announcements of the current exhibit "Charity Afire" in Emmitsburg. I don't know where or when the photo was taken. The Provincial Archives may be able to tell you.

    The image of the painting is from the St. Vincent de Paul Image Archive. According to the website, the title is "Fille de la Charitie portant secours aux blessings. Guerre de 1870, ou champagne de Salonique. Petit tableau chez les Filles de la Charitie de Saint-Malo." I don't read French, so I can't offer a translation.
    Carolann Schmitt
    cschmitt@genteelarts.com
    www.genteelarts.com
    Ladies & Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference, March 6-9, 2014

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