January 18th Program: Jane Austen Dolls

Here are some highlights of the program presented by Barb C.

Jane Austen was born Dec. 16, 1775 in Steventon, England into an upper middle class family of an Anglican preacher father, a lower gentry mother, 6 brothers and 1 sister. Her life spanned the time of King George and the Napoleonic wars in Europe and the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 in the U.S.A. Jane never married but accepted a proposal once. She retracted it the next day. “Anything is preferred than marrying without affection”.

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Daily Life in Jane’s life: Upper middle class washed their clothes every 5th week; Toothpaste was invented but no deodorant and soap was still a luxury (“everyone was in a continual state of inelegance”); wooden platens were worn on shoes for muddy paths; little travel abroad due to Napoleonic wars; sports and social activities included Cricket, sailing regattas, spas and baths, balls (Jane loved dancing), theater, music concerts and reading books.

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Fashions in Jane’s Teens: More slender than revolutionary times, more jackets

Fashions in Jane’s young adulthood: Shift style dresses with high waisted “Empire” style were worn with long gloves. Cropped hair and red ribbon chokers showed sympathy for those facing the guillotine. Outside influences reflected in styles such as short jackets (military support); turbans (Egyptian excavations); cashmere shawls (Indian influence); jewelry (Grecian style).

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Fashions in Jane’s later adulthood: Cone shaped skirts replaced the slim style with more color, prints and ornamentation. Longer hair with big bonnets were now worn.
Jane’s literary works: In her early teens she wrote History of England, Lady Susan, Northanger Abby; 1811 Sense and Sensibility; 1813 Pride and Prejudice; 1814 Mansfield Park; 1816 Emma; 1818 Persuasion (published post humorously). She had 40 works published; books, novels, short fiction, a play, poems, essays.

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Jane passed away at age 41 on July 18, 1817 from an unknown disease (possibly Addison’s disease, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or Bovine Tuberculosis) and she is buried at Winchester Cathedral. Her works are very popular today and are read all over the world, with many movies made of her books, as well as, of her life. After a book “A Memoir of Jane Austen” was published in 1870 the literary elite felt they had to separate themselves from the masses and “Janeitism” began (the self-consciously idolatrous enthusiasm for ‘Jane’ and every detail relative to her).

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Barb C. took us all on a wonderful trip into the past and it was a fascinating look into the wit and romance of Jane Austen, her works, her life and times and a chance to see all the lovely dolls and accompanying paraphernalia influenced by this writer. Thank you Barb!

Barb C. Jane Austen Program

Barb C. Jane Austen Program

Thanks to Pat D. for sharing this program summary!