Welcome to the blog of the Henderson, Ky., Depot Community Room. The Community Room strives to promote a better understanding of Henderson, Ky., history and culture through special programs and exhibits. Our exhibit hall features the collections of the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society. The Community Room is funded by the City of Henderson, Ky., through the Henderson County Tourist Commission.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Henderson's first historian had a sense of humor

In writing his definitive "History of Henderson County, Kentucky" in 1887 Edmund Starling recorded for posterity the important people, places and happenings of the day. But Starling had a sense of humor, which reveals itself throughout the book. Following is an excerpt about the latest 1858 fashions that gave us a chuckle:

"Prior to the fall of this year, fashion had induced all of the gentle sex (meaning women) to deform themselves in matter of dress. Hoops were fashionable, and the more enormous the hoops, the more fashionable the wearer. The nearer the model of a five gallon demijohn a lady could approach, the nearer she succeeded in reaching the climax of disfigurement and the demands of fashion.

"In those days there was but one hack in Henderson County, so in times of parties and swell occasions, young men, who doubted the policy of having their sweethearts foot it (walk) frequently called into reqeuisition the family buggy. Although such a vehicle, in these days, would be amply convenient for three persons, het, in 1858, when the lady of hoops had seated herself, there was really no room for the gentleman and he was therefore compelled to submit to circunscribed space, ride the horse, or else content himself with the footman's seat behind. A full dress lady of 1858, seated in one of the Delker Phaeton Copany's modern make of buggies, would be a sight sufficient to frighten a whole army of timid men. It was a horrid fashion, and thank heavens the French connoseurs in the fall of that year gave to the female world a dress more modest and becoming. "

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