Welcome to the
Marshfield Historical Society Website
Check out our Program Line-up for 2017 under Coming Events
Coming Events for April
Wednesday, April 26th at 7:00 PM: Harvesting Flax and Processing It into Linen garments in Colonial Marshfield presented by Bob Jackman, local historian (last of a series of four); Venue: Marcia Thomas House lecture room. Suggested donation $5 per person.
Linen was the most widely worn fabric in Colonial Marshfield. Depending upon its processing linen can vary between the coarse, open-weave fabric at the foundation of samplers to fine-thread and closely woven cloth of elegant gowns. Following the American Revolution, botanists urged Southern planters to grow Mexican cotton rather than tobacco, and in a few decades cheap cotton widely replace linen as the fabric of choice in New England.
Flax plants were the source of fibers that were processed and woven into linen garments. The transformation of hardy plants with dainty blue flowers into a durable cloth required an extensive process, and in most families there were clear divisions between the steps requiring male labor and female labor.
While today’s ornamental flax plants grow about two feet high, flax plants selected for producing fibers are about four feet tall. Fibers grow at the center of the stalk from the base to the top. The process of extracting fibers is fascinating. Another fascinating aspect is the dyeing process, and we will examine some of the locally used formulas for dyeing linen.
Each year some of the tiny seeds were put aside to seed the following year’s crop. Excess seeds were sold to mills that crushed them and produced linseed oil.
There is a tendency to assume that garment production was necessary to clothe family members, but it had no further commercial benefit. Actually women fashioned garments that were shipped to urban markets from colonial times into the Twentieth Century. This was a small scale but widespread industry throughout this area.
Help needed in securing a beautiful 18th century Queen Anne Drop Leaf Table. Please check this out under Collections above.
* Suggested donations for the Pro-Am lectures is $10 for non-members and for $5 members. Pro-Am lectures are preceded by free snacks and beverages starting at 1:30 PM through 2:00 PM when the speaker starts. Questions and answers follow. The Marcia Thomas House is located at 65 Webster Street, Marshfield, MA near the Historic Winslow House. It is the Headquarters of the Marshfield Historical Society and houses its museum and archives. Click here for directions to the Marcia Thomas House.
Check out Robin Mitchell’s wonderful book “Yesterday’s Marshfield”, a pictorial journey as viewed through the photographers’ lens. Click here to visit Store.
Hours of Operation for 2017
The museum and archives are open the first Sunday of the month from 1pm-4pm and by appointment. For 2017 the dates are Jan 1st, Feb 5th, Mar 5th, Apr 2nd, May 7th, Jun 4th, Jul 2nd, Aug 6th, Sept 3rd, Oct 1st, Nov 5th, Dec 2nd and Jan 7th 2018. meow
Membership Renewal: Send your 2017 membership check dues to: MHS, PO Box 1244, Marshfield, MA 02050. There is a Membership Application under the Home/Become a Member tab at the top of the page. For more information contact membership chairman Jane Davidson. 781-801-0392; email@example.com
We need volunteers for garden and field maintenance, for museum docents, for cataloging of artifacts and for simple house maintenance. Volunteer for one-time or longer term projects. The Board cannot do it all themselves. Please call Tim Davidson at 781-801-8267; firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Meetings of the Board of Directors are generally held the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:00PM, at the Marcia Thomas House. For 2017 the dates are Jan 10th, Feb 14th, Mar 14th, Apr 11th, May 9th, Jun 13th….
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