A Civil War-era fashion show will be held in Marshall Saturday afternoon. Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross speak with Committee Member Eric Crump:
Crump said it is part of a year-long series of events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Marshall. They hope to use these events to give everyone a clearer understanding of local history.
The fashion show will be held at the Windmill Gallery on Odell Avenue at 1:00. More information can be found at www.battleofmarshall.org.
Press Release from the Steering Committee for the Battle of Marshall 150th Anniversary Commemoration
In the 2003 film, “The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” the heroine, Elizabeth Swan, bedecked in a frilly new dressed and cinched up tight in her corsets, famously gasps, “I can’t breathe!” and topples off a battlement into the sea.
Guests at the Dawn-to-Dusk Fashion Show in Marshall Saturday, March 9, will get a vivid sense of the world of Victorian-era fashion without having to swoon to do so. The event will begin at 1 p.m. in Windmill Gallery, 467 S. Odell Ave.
“A corset will do it to you, especially if you’ve worn one since you were a child,” said co-organizer Connie Grisier. “A corset will give you good posture. it’ll make you sit up straight.”
Grisier and co-organizer Connie Cunningham will help guests learn about who we were by looking at how we dressed in the past.
“Materials, styles, habits and preferences — they all reveal aspects of life as our ancestors experienced it,” said Eric Crump, president of Marshall Cultural Council, sponsor of the event. “Connie and Connie both are experienced at bringing the past to life through period attire.”
The show will include narration by Grisier, retired administrator of Van Meter State Park and a long-time period clothing seamstress.
“It’ll be a lady rising from her bed in her chemise — which is what they usually slept in — and then we’ll dress her for the day,” Grisier said. “She’ll have her morning attire, and then we’ll dress her for shopping, visiting, church, dinner time, and evening.”
The group will have more than half a dozen local women and girls to model clothing provided by Grisier and Cunningham.
“We’re going to beg borrow as many hoops as we can find,” Grisier said.
The event is part of the Battle of Marshall 150th Anniversary Commemoration Second Saturday series. It’s teaching tool, according to Grisier, but she not only interested in giving people a glimpse at Civil War-era life. She wants to help them get into the spirit of things by getting into costume themselves.
As the commemoration’s biggest event — a battle re-enactment and festival in September — commemoration organizers hope more and more members of the community will dust off their period attire or obtain new outfits in order to make the event seem more authentic.
“I like things to be historically accurate,” Grisier said. “This will give people a handle on period construction, what it’s going to look like, what’s needed.”
She hopes area seamstress and tailors will attend the event to get ideas and tips.
“This could possibly lead to sewing jobs for people,” she said. “They can come and learn so they can sew for other people.”
Cunningham said there is growing demand for Civil War period clothing as the 150th anniversary of the war continues. She and her husband, Gerald Cunningham, operate Bucksnort Trading Post and Saloon in Blackwater, which caters to people interested in 19th century life.
“I think there’s a real need,” Cunningham said. “We get people coming into the shop all the time to get patterns, and they want to know if we know of anybody who will help them make the clothes.”
In addition to period style clothing, the event will include comfort food common during the Civil War era. At a previous Second Saturday event, typical soldiers’ rations were served. This time, the fare will be tastier.
“The Civil War meant hard times for many,” said Cynthia Nold, food coordinator. “Troops rarely dined well. Comfort foods were dietary highlights, but usually made with basic ingredients from simple recipes.”
Cold, hard rations and limited family food supplies would be augmented occasionally with simple desserts, and this tasting opportunity contrasts with the typical troop fodder of bean soup and ration hardtack, she said.
“Comfort foods were the sweetest part of a bitter war,” Nold said.
Future Battle of Marshall commemoration events include:
–A lecture by Arrow Rock Historic Site Administrator Michael Dickey on life in mid-Missouri during the war and music and lecture by Missouri fiddle music expert Prof. Emeritus Howard Marshall at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13 at Windmill Gallery. At 7 p.m. there will be a field hospital reenactment (fundraiser) at old Fitzgibbon Hospital, 868 S. Brunswick Ave. in Marshall. Tickets will be available soon.
–Children’s fair at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 11 on the west side of the Saline County Courthouse with children’s games played in the 1860s, the air cannon from the Missouri State Museum and storyteller Joyce Slater.
–Civil War photography with Bill Westbrook and Chris Nelson, Saturday, June 8, at 8:30 p.m., location to be announced.