Mary’s boiled laundry likely consisted
of things made of white cotton, like the long “drawers,” or
underwear, people wore at the time. Clothes were made so that parts
that were most likely to get dirty, like collars and sleeves, could
be removed and washed separately.
Woman wearing a ca. 1860s-style
dress. Note white collar and sleeves.
Carte-de-visite 1860-1869. Photo
courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society Photograph
Big or heavy clothing, or clothing
made of fabrics such as wool, (like dresses, pants or jackets),
would be aired and brushed, but rarely washed in water. Women
were expected to know how to do laundry and how to use a variety
substances to remove stains. For more information on the clothing
worn by men, women and children in about 1860, visit the Memorial
Hall Museum of Deerfield, Massachussetts online (http://www.memorialhall.mass.edu/activities/dressup/index.html).