Dear Friends,

I am happy to announce that I have a Position as Housemaid at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Calvert, Riversdale House, this weekend. They are expecting a large number of female guests, including Authoresses Kristina Cook, Sally McKenzie, and Kate Dolan. My Duties include setting out of Things for Ladylike Pursuits–Bonnetmaking, Theorem Painting, and such–and serving Breakfast on Saturday morning. The ladies will take a turn at cooking on an open hearth, which should prove amusing, and on Saturday evening we allow Gentlemen into our Female Retreat for dancing, cards etc.

Although I doubt we shall use them, I enclose a picture of the Riversdale china (peach and white), two Teapots (for green and black tea), two Botanical Plates and a Silver Spoon, all owned and used by Mr. and Mrs. Calvert.

Fortunately since the house is fitted with the best of Modern Plumbing I shall not have to empty the guests’ Chamber Pots.

No, I don’t know what theorem painting is although I probably should, but I will know fairly soon! This is the Ladies Weekend at Riversdale House Museum, just outside Washington, DC, where I’m a volunteer docent. I hope to have pictures and a report of the fun on my post next weekend. Yes, I will be wearing a gown, which makes me look more fat and bosomy than usual but in a historically correct way. To learn more about the house, built in the early nineteenth century for Belgian immigrant Rosalie Stiers who married into the Calvert family, visit the site of the Riversdale House Museum. And I highly recommend the collection of Rosalie’s Letters, Mistress of Riversdale, on which the restoration of the house is based, and that gives a very vivid portrait of life in federal-era America.

Do you own a Regency gown and have you ever participated in any living history activities? What would you like to do on a Regency Ladies’ weekend and where would you like it to take place? And would you rather be upstairs or downstairs?

(Photo of Butler’s Pantry above courtesy of the Museum and MNCPPC-Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County, Maryland.)

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