Coming Clean in Colonial America — a Talk for Adults, Children, & Families

by Patricia Perry

In present times we are obsessed with bathing. How many shampoo brands are there? Soaps, razors, perfumes? Hundreds, thousands! People make a stink, literally, if they smell the dreaded B.O... Nobody wants to be downwind of someone who hasn't bathed in awhile.

Have you ever wondered about the day-to-day lives of our Colonial ancestors? Were the good old days really that good? Exactly how did one use a chamber pot? How many skirts did one woman wear at a time? How often did they bathe? For answers to these and other fascinating questions, schedule some time peeking Under the Petticoats.

In early America, getting clean meant sponging off, usually just face and hands. A shirt concealed the sweat that often flowed beneath it and kept it from staining the elegant silk or velvet waistcoat and frock coat that went over it.

Come hear what life was like before running water and today's endless assortment of toiletries - without the plumbing and products we now take for granted. Learn how personal hygiene for Americans reached an art form.

An active Rhode Islander, Patricia Perry is a professional historical interpreter; a member of the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums; and the former Chairperson for the Blackstone Valley Interpreter Network. She is a former junior high school teacher and a bit of a history nut.