This month’s ‘Family Tree Magazine’ (UK) has a piece I did about crafts in eighteenth and nineteenth century asylums. Whilst researching, I stumbled on these amazing Native American autographs, in The Retreat’s ‘Visiter’s Book’, made by visiting Seneca nation dignitaries, in 1818. Couldn’t shoehorn them into the piece, so here’s one for all of yous out there who love this stuff.
I hope to be getting back to the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds, very soon, to do some more research on the amazing Lorina Bulwer’s craft work, and hopefully will be evolving some workshops for those of us who want to learn to rant via the medium of embroidery.
Gentle Reader, join me in the pages of Family Tree Magazine and find out more about our ‘insane’ ancestors and the way they used crafts for therapy, venting, and sometimes simply to pass the time.
Asylum records (where they exist) are an incredible resource for both historian and genealogist. In areas like Yorkshire and Lancashire with a rich textile industry heritage, you can find amongst those committed; spinners and weavers, mantua-makers, milliners and tailors, knitters, mill-owners, husbandmen and farmers.
To find out more, read this month’s ‘Family Tree Magazine’ (June 2014). Available at all good newsagents, etc.
Images By Kind Permission of The Borthwick Institute, University of York
Image Credit: Nathaniel Hunt (York College’s Art & Design Student of the Year)