Welcome to Staatsburgh State Historic Site's blog! Learn more about the Gilded Age home of Ruth and Ogden Mills!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Christmas in the 1920s

Christmas as a holiday has continuously evolved over the centuries and decades, but many modern traditions have deeply seated historic roots.  Many Christmas traditions in England and America began during the reign of Queen Victoria who led the British empire from 1837-1901.  After she married Albert of Germany, many German traditions such as decorated Christmas trees became increasingly common in England and soon spread across the ocean to the United States.  Several years ago we wrote about many of the traditions that became stalwarts of Christmas during the Gilded Age (see previous Christmas essays here), but this essay looks forward to the 1920s.  The post WWI world was changing, and new technology brought a new dimension to Christmas celebrations.  But while the United States embraced the new, there was still the tendency to look backward and dream of wholesome Christmases past before the world was torn apart by war.  Christmas was a comfort and communal celebrations of the holiday served as a balm to families (Christian ones, at least) finding their place in a new decade.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Radium, Perms & Painted Knees: Beauty Fads of the 1920s

 With the generous support of the Friends of Mills at Staatsburgh, our site has hosted a research intern from Bard College this summer. Celka Rice, a literature major at Bard, has researched various aspects of 1920s fashion, helping Staatsburgh explore the possibility of presenting accurate costumed interpretation during the 100th anniversary of the Roaring ‘20s. Although Celka’s interdisciplinary studies cover a broad background which include history, anthropology, art history, classics, and photography, the internship called upon another of her diverse interests: her expertise in vintage clothing and fashion history. For her summer project, Celka has researched retail sources for reproduction and vintage clothing, and has written three blogs on fascinating 1920s fashion topics.  This essay, the third, explores a variety of unique beauty fads popularized in the 1920s.

Illustrated by Georges Lepape, Vogue, February 1, 1925

Sunday, October 31, 2021

1920s Sporting Attire

 With the generous support of the Friends of Mills at Staatsburgh, our site has hosted a research intern from Bard College this summer. Celka Rice, a literature major at Bard, has researched various aspects of 1920s fashion, helping Staatsburgh explore the possibility of presenting accurate costumed interpretation during the 100th anniversary of the Roaring ‘20s. Although Celka’s interdisciplinary studies cover a broad background which include history, anthropology, art history, classics, and photography, the internship called upon another of her diverse interests: her expertise in vintage clothing and fashion history. For her summer project, Celka has researched retail sources for reproduction and vintage clothing, and has written three blogs on fascinating 1920s fashion topics.  This essay, the second, explores sporting attire in the 1920s.

Gladys Mills Phipps, daughter of Ruth & Ogden Mills, frequently played golf and even won tournaments!
Photo: International News Service, circa 1910s

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

When (Neo)Classicism Met Modernism: The Ancient Influences that Shaped 1920s Fashion

With the generous support of the Friends of Mills at Staatsburgh, our site has hosted a research intern from Bard College this summer. Celka Rice, a literature major at Bard, has researched various aspects of 1920s fashion, helping Staatsburgh explore the possibility of presenting accurate costumed interpretation during the 100th anniversary of the Roaring ‘20s. Although Celka’s interdisciplinary studies cover a broad background which include history, anthropology, art history, classics, and photography, the internship called upon another of her diverse interests: her expertise in vintage clothing and fashion history. For her summer project, Celka has researched retail sources for reproduction and vintage clothing, and has written three blogs on fascinating 1920s fashion topics.

Blog Author, Celka Rice

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Behind the Scenes at Staatsburgh: Recent Conservation Work

Historic sites like Staatsburgh are always a work in progress. For every piece that is conserved, there are several more waiting for treatment! We are consistently striving to conserve and restore the building and the collections.  The New York State Bureau of Historic Sites at Peebles Island oversees the conservation and restoration work of all state historic sites.  They employ a skilled group of experienced conservators who complete this transformative work!  In addition to the conservators, Staatsburgh is very lucky to be supported by the Friends of Mills at Staatsburgh, the site's non-profit friends group, which has raised funds for many of the projects included in this post.

During the month of August, we celebrated some of the recent conservation work done at Staatsburgh by creating #TransformationTuesday posts for Facebook.  This essay will highlight the transformation of five different items in Staatsburgh's collections.